by Tinotenda Kandi and Wayne Mafaro Wednesday 28 May 2008
HARARE – Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday said 50 of
his supporters have been killed in political violence and promised to set up
a truth and justice commission to probe human rights abuses in the country
if elected president.
Zimbabwe holds a second presidential election on June 27 after Tsvangirai
defeated President Robert Mugabe in a March 29 ballot but failed to garner
enough more than 50 percent of the vote required to takeover the presidency.
Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, Western governments
and human rights groups have accused Mugabe of unleashing the army and
militias of his ruling ZANU PF party to beat and torture opposition
supporters in a bid to intimidate them to back him in the run-off
Tsvangirai, who launched a special fund to assist victims of political
violence, said marauding ZANU PF gangs had displaced more than 25 000 MDC
supporters who had virtually become refugees in their own country.
He said: “Over 50 Zimbabweans have been killed in the past six weeks. More
than 25 000 people have been displaced. I have been saddened that
Zimbabweans are willing to shed the blood of other Zimbabweans over
"We are taking down the names of those involved in these heinous crimes and
we know them. We will approach the Attorney General's office to have these
people prosecuted. We are also committed to a process of truth and justice
once we get into government. I don't believe anyone who has murdered a
person should be forgiven."
Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi was not immediately available to comment
on Tsvangirai’s claims of rising political murders. But the Harare
administration denies authorising violence and instead says it is the MDC
that has carried out political violence in order to tarnish Mugabe’s name.
Political analysts say Tsvangirai’s frequent referrence to the need for a
truth and justice commission is partly the reason Mugabe will not give up
power easily for fear that such a commission could eventually see him
dragged to court to face charges of violating human rights during his
Mugabe enters the June run-off as an underdog after garnering 43.2 percent
of the vote compared to 47.8 percent won by Tsvangirai in March.
The run-off election is being held amid worsening food shortages and an
economic recession shown in the world’s highest inflation rate of more than
165 000 percent.
Such a scenario would mean certain and emphatic electoral defeat for any
sitting government but analysts say a blistering campaign of political
violence against MDC structures and supporters might just tilt the scales in
favour of Mugabe. – ZimOnline
by Lizwe Sebatha Wednesday 28 May 2008
BULAWAYO – Zimbabwe police have held four opposition legislators and
civic leaders in jail since arresting them last Sunday for holding a
community meeting without first seeking permission from the law enforcement
The two opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) legislators,
Norman Mpofu and Lutho Tapela, were arrested after holding a consultative
meeting with the community in the western border town of Plumtree.
Two civic leaders in the town Helija Moyo and Edwin Ncube were also
arrested after helping organise the meeting that was held last Saturday.
The four were still being held in police cells by late Tuesday evening
but were expected to appear in court today to face charges of violating the
Public Order and Security Act that requires Zimbabweans to notify police
first before holding political gatherings or marches in public.
Gordon Moyo, the chairman of Bulawayo Agenda a local civic group that
works with the community in Plumtree, said: “We have never sought police
clearance to hold such office consultative meetings and it is clear that the
government has intensified its crackdown on the opposition and civic society
“The meeting was just like any office or company meeting and does not
require any police clearance.”
The MDC has in the past accused the police of using the security Act
to target ban its meetings and arrest its supporters and allies in a bid to
cripple the opposition’s push to dislodge President Robert Mugabe from
power. – ZimOnline.
by Mutumwa Mawere Wednesday 28 May 2008
OPINION: On 6 February 1980, Lord Soames, the transitional British Governor
of Rhodesia, in an interview observed that the election atmosphere was so
polluted by intimidation and violence prompting him to introduce a new law
empowering him to ban any party guilty of intimidation.
In response, ZANU leader Robert Mugabe challenged Lord Soames to decide
whether he wanted war or peace, meaning that any attempt to ban ZANU would
be tantamount to declaring war and leaving the status quo of violence and
intimidation as is would be a declaration of peace.
Lord Soames was under enormous pressure to ban ZANU but decided to ignore
such calls in the interests of delivering the change that he genuinely
believed Mugabe and Zimbabweans were yearning and fighting for.
At the time, the Rhodesian forces, like their post colonial successors, had
the means to successfully stage a coup-de-etat.
The Rhodesian forces were determined to keep the country under white control
as may be the case today where the will of the people may be subordinate to
the wishes of the Joint Military Command (JMC) in the event that the run-off
election does not take place. Rhodesian army commander General Peter Walls
had to make the hard choice that it was not in the interests of the country
to militarily intervene.
The climate was not conducive for a free and fair election and yet the
circumstances and national interest compelled everyone to see the process
It is significant that at the 73rd Ordinary Session of the Zanu PF Central
Committee, Mugabe acutely aware of the confusion in his party following the
electoral defeat justified the need for the run-off election at a time when
even the most ardent advocates of democracy are calling for a government of
national unity outside the framework of the legal system.
At independence, the image of Mugabe as a bad man and a Marxist ideologue
was pronounced, leading to many white Zimbabweans electing to emigrate.
Mugabe finds himself 28 years later accused of the same violent and
intimidatory approach to politics.
The choices at independence were clear and, justifiably, Zimbabweans in
record numbers voted for change. In Mugabe, many believed that salvation
would come and black hope would be realised. Notwithstanding the polluted
electoral environment, people decided that the hour of change had arrived
and the past could no longer be the basis on which nation building could be
In as much as the Rhodesian forces were apprehensive about change, they too
realised that the colonial state was no longer sustainable. There is no
doubt that when Mugabe loses the run-off election, the JMC will behave in a
similar manner to how the Rhodesian forces reluctantly accepted change.
The intellectual basis of the arguments advanced so far for a government of
national unity before the people have decided on who should be their first
citizen is faulty. If Walls could be persuaded to accept the ballot as the
instrument of delivering change then surely current commander of the
Zimbabwe National Army General Constantine Chiwenga and his colleagues will
have no choice but to abide by the will of the people.
Mugabe could easily have used the environment prevailing in 1980 to stage a
coup-de-etat but there is no doubt that his decisions were informed by the
values and principles of the revolutionary struggle that the future of the
country belonged to the people and not to those powerful enough to hold
instruments of fear and intimidation.
The transition of 1980 was far more complex and interest driven than the
current transition. Mugabe has already accepted that his party has been
defeated and if the run-off produces the same outcome, there is no doubt
that opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party leader Morgan
Tsvangirai will be the second President of the Republic.
Lord Soames knew what kind of a client Mugabe was and he was, therefore,
able to skilfully manage the transition.
What kind of person is Mugabe? What sustains and motivates him? We all need
to understand the man and history is pregnant with lessons of how to manage
Mugabe and get the best of him. The people of Zimbabwe in the post-election
environment displayed to a large extent the maturity that has helped to
discourage Mugabe from going the Hugo Chavez, Castro, and etc way.
By choosing to remain calm in the face of provocation and extreme
intimidation, the people of Zimbabwe may eventually get the change that they
deserve. However, surprises should be expected given the slippery road ahead
but it is important that people keep their eyes on the price, comforted by
the fact that half the job is already done.
It is instructive that Mugabe has accepted that ZANU PF has to bear the
brunt of the blame for the electoral defeat. Accordingly, it is important
that his words to the Central Committee continue to be interrogated in a
quest to identify the best way of finishing the job.
This is what President Mugabe said:
“Let us go back to work fully mindful of the fact that except for one
province, most of our provinces failed to mobilise even half of their
registered voters to go and vote. Most people stayed at home and that
sleeping vote is what we must target and arouse. It is our vote. It is loyal
to us and, in fact, stands already aroused by the sense of danger, which the
party setback has shown. Let us galvanise it for an emphatic victory.
“Our fist is against white imperialism; it is a fist for the people of
Zimbabwe, never a fist against them.
“Support comes from persuasion, not from pugilism. Let us build genuine
support for the party and such support cannot come through coercion or
Mugabe genuinely believes that the masses do not know what time it is. It is
evident from the above that he is of the opinion that the people who chose
not to vote support his continued stay in office and hence the call to the
party to mobilise the electorate. It is important for the people who did not
vote to respond to the President and express their opinion on whether the
status quo ante should remain.
Mugabe has not accepted that he may be the problem to nation building and
progress choosing to characterise the voter apathy as a consequence of
naivety on the part of the citizens. It is clear that Mugabe is definitely
not living in the same world as the suffering masses.
He says the fist of the party is against white imperialism when it should be
against black poverty, “Gonomics”, dysfunctional constitutional order,
unemployment, hyperinflation, dysfunctional political system, hopelessness,
violence, and economic disorder.
The ZANU PF leader has not accepted and probably will never accept any
responsibility for leading the country into despair and undermining the
Zimbabwean promise. His mind has been directed at pursuing self-serving
political ends with disastrous social and economic consequences.
Mugabe must be reminded that he has been in office for the past 28 years and
he still has a few weeks to justify to the Zimbabwean people why they should
trust him. Any residual trust that people may still have in him must surely
be measured by the tone of his post-election language.
If he still believes that imperialism and not his record is the issue in
Zimbabwe today, then surely if there was any stimulus required to energise
people to vote this surely ought to be one such incentive.
Mugabe is wrong to suggest that his support should come from persuasion and
not from his record of achievements. In the absence of any positive message
about the party’s achievements, violence appears to be the only viable
instrument for the party. He may not be fully aware of what many of his
colleagues are already aware of that the people are tired of the rhetoric
and just want to turn a new leaf and move forward with the nation building
It is now clear that Mugabe is like a naked emperor who is no longer living
in this world but chooses to believe what his handlers tell him even after
people have spoken. The only message for such an emperor is not to risk one’s
life by telling him that he is naked but for him to discover after the votes
have been counted that his time is up.
It is not too late to tell Mugabe that genuine support for any political
party must come from delivery and not persuasion or violence. The only
language that he respects is one that comes from the ballot box and citizens
have no choice but to deliver this message eloquently on June 27.
Mugabe does not respect any other language and Zimbabwe is just too
important to be wasted arguing with a person who may no longer know the
difference between the truth and lies. – ZimOnline
By Blessing Zulu, Carole Gombakomba & Patience Rusere
27 May 2008
Under pressure from the Zimbabwean opposition and international groups to
deploy a reinforced observer mission to the country well before its June 27
presidential run-off election, the Southern African Development Community
has promised to send at least 200 observers - 80 more than it deployed for
the March 29 first round.
Officials in the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and African and
Western diplomatic sources said they have been urging SADC to expand its
involvement in the country before the situation spins out of control given
the political violence which has become increasingly deadly with more than
50 opposition activists reported slain.
The MDC is asking SADC in particular to put more observers in rural areas
that have in effect become no-go areas for the opposition. Militia members
and war veterans linked to the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe have
been terrorizing and killing local residents suspected of backing the
opposition. Such forces have set up roadblocks in many locations to control
entry into such target areas.
Mr. Mugabe faces opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who claimed an
official 47.9% of first-round ballots compared with the incumbent's 43.2%,
while the combined MDC (the opposition party split in 2005) won a majority
in parliament's lower house.
SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Salamao confirmed in an interview that his
group will send at least 200 observers for the late-June presidential
Salamao said he will meet Saturday with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
before the first SADC observers arrive. He said the final number of
observers and the date of their deployment would be announced after he has
met with ZEC officials.
SADC sources earlier had said the organization would not send observers
before mid-June, citing logistical and financial constraints.
SADC leaders are expected to examine the crisis in Zimbabwe on the sidelines
of a development conference opening in Tokyo this week.
Senior researcher Chris Maroleng of the Institute for Security Studies in
South Africa told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
SADC might be able to stem the tide of violence if it deploys observers
International and regional observer groups are urging the Zimbabwean
government to uphold its commitments under SADC protocols governing
democratic elections and the equivalent African Union declaration free and
Senior Program Officer Belinda Musanhu of the Electoral Institute of
Southern Africa in Pretoria commented that Harare is responsible for
ensuring a peaceful environment in the run-up to elections and afterwards.
She said she and other regional observers are saddened to note that local
observers are now being targeted by violence.
David Pottie, associate director of the democracy program at the
Atlanta-based Carter Center, told reporter Carole Gombakomba that the main
concern is that violence and intimidation are denying Zimbabweans their
universal right to cast a free ballot.
Meanwhile, some 65 civil society leaders met in Harare on Tuesday to set
strategies for the presidential run-off campaign. They resolved to launch an
international appeal for assistance to victims of political violence and to
mobilize funds to help people who have been displaced by such violence
return to their homes to vote.
Spokesman Fambai Ngirande of the National Association of Non-Governmental
Organizations told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe
that the NGO’s are taking such steps to ensure that people are able to
exercise their right to vote in what he described as a “crucial” election
for the country.
27th May 2008 23:21 GMT
By Ian Nhuka
BULAWAYO - The Zanu PF propaganda machinery is now operating at full spate
ahead of the potentially bruising June 27 presidential election run-off,
with some programmes that had been scrapped from national television, being
The return of the pro-Zanu PF programmes comes hard-on-the-heels of the
sacking of former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) chief executive,
Pro-Zanu PF programmes that now dominate the airwaves include Dzimbahwe,
Ndangariro Dzehondo, Chimurenga Music and Melting Pot.
This is in addition to one-sided news items that prop up President Robert
Mugabe’s re-election bid while trashing Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai.
A senior television producer said the new programmes have disrupted the
“They just started coming shortly after the boss (Muradzikwa) left,” he said
from Harare yesterday. “Some of the programmes are new while others, like
Dzimbahwe are old but had been removed when Muradzikwa came in. There are
also musical programmes on which we play revolutionary songs. Discussants on
Dzimbahwe are not new, they also have basically the same thrust. What has
changed is the name of the programmes. Previously it was called National
Muradzikwa, an experienced and respected journalist, was fired for allegedly
failing to use the national broadcaster to campaign for Zanu PF in the March
Zanu PF officials accused Muradzikwa of supporting the failed presidential
bid of former minister, and ruling party politburo member, Simba Makoni, who
contested in the March 29 election as an independent.
On Ndangariro Dzehondo, the national television broadcasts fresh and
sometimes archival material of Zanu PF veterans during the liberation
On Chimurenga Music, the country’s sole television station plays
revolutionary songs meant to flaunt Zanu PF’s liberation war credentials.
Zanu PF praise singers who dominate this slot include Tambaoga, Comrade
Chinx, Hosiah Chipanga and a group called Mugabe Chete: 2008.
Chipanga sings, “Gushungo Haana Mhosva,” in which he absolves Mugabe of
ruining the economy, shifting the blame to his officials and local business
people. Gushungo is Mugabe’s totem.
“VaMugabe vane munyama” Chipanga sings, Kupiwa mhosva isiri yavo ---.
Mapurazi mashanu mashanu, wakanga watumwa nani? Mabarwe kupiwa wotengesa,
wakanga watumwa nani?” asks the musician in the song blaming everyone but
Mugabe of the ills affecting Zimbabwe.
Panelists on Dzimbahwe are University of Zimbabwe professors linked to Zanu
PF such as Claude Mararike who teaches sociology, Vimbai Chivaura, who
lectures English and Sheunesu Mupepereki of the Department of Soil Science.
These liberation messages are designed to portray Zanu PF as the custodian
of national interests having led the armed struggle for independence in the
President Mugabe routinely dismisses the MDC as a “sell-out” party, which he
claims, was formed to reverse “the revolution.” Tsvangirai denies this.
Chivaura said: “Our programme is back on television. It is not meant to
campaign for anyone, but to help our people to know who they are and their
President Mugabe faces his old nemesis, Tsvangirai in the run-off after he
was out-polled by the former trade unionist. He polled about 43 percent of
the ballot while Tsvangirai got 47 percent.
HARARE - 28 May 2008
The Rt Rev Sebastian Bakare, Anglican Bishop of Harare has issued the
following pastoral letter to his diocese.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
We are shocked and dismayed by the continuous police interference with
Sunday services and by the increased brutality causing casualties. Many of
you have been assaulted and beaten, and several parishioners of St Monica's
Church, Chitungwiza, were brutally assaulted on 18 May and had to be
admitted to hospital.
Our struggle to worship without harassment continues. The Supreme Court
Order issued by the Hon. Chief Justice on 12 May was totally disregarded by
the police, as previous orders have been. Needless to say where there is law
and order such defiance would result in the arrest of those in contempt of
court. Today in Zimbabwe the rule of law does not exist. That leaves us with
no recourse to ensure that our members can freely and peacefully exercise
their constitutional right for example, for everyone to worship without
harassment. We are however not deterred by this lawlessness and will
continue to seek justice through the courts.
Once again we appeal to the law enforcement agents, and especially the
police, to let sanity prevail and refrain from harassing and brutalising
Anglican Christians in Harare Diocese even if it may fall on deaf ears. Let
it be said for the record.
As a Diocese we will look for alternative worship places to ensure that
members of our congregations remain united as we struggle for freedom of
worship. We will never cease to worship. We also believe, whether the police
like it or not, that God will intervene, may be not today or tomorrow but in
His own time. We will rejoice when this happens.
As Christians we encourage you all to take solace in reading the Bible and
be guided by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are reminded of Jesus' promise
to his disciples:
"I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with
you forever - the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it
neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and
will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you" (John
Our lives as Christians will always have security in Christ and not in the
powers of this world. May we take this inspiring message into our hearts.
In the book of Revelation chapter 13 we are reminded of the image of the
beast whose agenda is to destroy the followers of Christ (Rev 13:5-10). Rest
assured that the principalities and powers of this world come and go, but
the God who is Alpha and Omega remains to achieve His purpose to save
humanity in spite of the challenges put before us by the beast.
We encourage those of you who do not belong to a house group, to join one,
as this is a way in which you can support one another in prayer and
otherwise Bernard Mizeki celebrations will be on 13-15 June. May God bless
Lord Jesus, we talk glibly about your suffering but rarely stop to think
what it involves. It was not so easy to imagine the physical, mental and
spiritual suffering you had to bear on our behalf. You underwent all this in
the company of your Father, although at a time you felt abandoned but not
forsaken (Psalm 22).
The physical, mental and spiritual anguish we are going through in our
Diocese, meted by non-God fearing police officers and their superiors is not
hidden from you. We believe that we are with you here on earth as in heaven.
We believe that those who believe in you are never forsaken.
Send your Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen us as we go through the
challenge of being denied to meet together in your name. Your Kingdom come.
+ Sebastian Harare
Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Harare CPCA
Source: Anglican Information - A voice for the voiceless'
© Independent Catholic News 2008
SW Radio Africa (London)
27 May 2008
Posted to the web 27 May 2008
SADC leaders are to meet on the sidelines of a conference in Japan to
discuss the current political instability in the region and the deployment
of election observers to monitor the second round of the presidential poll
The SADC leaders will be among 40 heads of state and governments from Africa
meeting in Japan's oldest port city of Yokohama, for a three-day conference
on African development.
The summit starts Wednesday and finishes on Friday. Robert Mugabe will not
attend the conference despite the fact that the Japanese government invited
him. He'll be represented by his foreign affairs Minister, Simbarashe
Glen Mpani is the regional co-ordinator in the Cape Town based Centre for
the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, and he said the time to pretend
that all was well in the SADC bloc was long gone.
'It's now an open secret that problems in Zimbabwe have also helped inflame
the crisis of xenophobic attacks in South Africa. By allowing the crisis in
Zimbabwe to drag on for years, SADC leaders and in particular Mbeki have
realised they left the crisis to fester and now it has become an increasing
source of irritation to the region,' Mpani said.
The Red Cross said on Monday that an estimated 25,000 Zimbabweans were
heading for Zambia, as they flee anti-immigrant violence in South Africa.
Thousands more are heading for Mozambique and Botswana. The last thing they
want to do is go back to Zimbabwe.
Francoise Le Goff, the Red Cross director for Southern Africa, said in
Zambia their teams were preparing for the arrival of the huge Zimbabwean
contingent. He said that up till now 5,500 Zimbabweans have had assistance
in Mozambique, while 342 had been received in centres near the border with
'The SADC leaders are faced with an explosive situation and no one, not even
Mbeki, will pretend there is no crisis in Zimbabwe or the region,' Mpani
Mpani said if Mbeki wanted to salvage his reputation, he had to ensure the
presidential run-off was going to be free and fair, as well as urging SADC
leaders to send observers as soon as possible.
'I'm certain no SADC leader wants a disputed election in Zimbabwe and added
to that, no country wants an explosion of refugees because of political
instability in South Africa and Zimbabwe. I think Mbeki will find it even
harder to keep defending Mugabe,' Mpani said.
With just a month to go before the presidential election run-off, the MDC
said on Tuesday that conditions were not conducive for a free and fair poll,
but still expressed confidence they will oust Mugabe.
Nelson Chamisa, the chief spokesman for the MDC, said their access to the
state media was now totally closed and that holding rallies was almost
'We had to appeal to the high court to get an order to hold our last two
rallies. Our supporters are being displaced in rural areas and key players
have been abducted and killed, rendering our campaign crippled and the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the army are working in cahoots to advance
the cause of Zanu-PF,' Chamisa said. He said despite all the disadvantages,
their candidate would win the election.
Political analyst Brian Kagoro recently predicted that no amount of
violencem would alter decisions already made in the hearts and minds of
Zimbabweans who are hungry for change.
Michealene Cristini Risley
Posted May 27, 2008 | 05:16 PM (EST)
Can you imagine? Four dollars would buy most of a fast food meal in the
United States, perhaps a cup of designer coffee. In Zimbabwe it is enough to
motivate boys to beat pregnant women with nail ridden planks and smash the
skulls of old men into the earth, blending their blood with the rich red
soil of this beautiful but anguished country.
How could life have become so cheap and power so expensive? How can the
world not scream in despair about the situation occurring in our Global
village? Are we waiting for proof enough to step in with aid or are we
waiting for a confirmed genocide that has happened in countries like Darfur
and the Congo? Are we so caught up in the insignificant details of every day
life that we cannot take the time to stop the phenomena of civil war? Where
are the elders?
In the rural areas of Zimbabwe, the youth Militia are passing out plates of
terror. It was after the 2000 elections that President Mugabe recruited
young boys to help him administer control over the country. The kids were
recruited for a national Zimbabwe training program. Since the election
results of this year did not come out in Mugabe's favor, he took 150 of his
Senior Army officials and assigned them to administer terror. He asked them
to focus on the 58 districts of the country and to make sure that these
districts received enough torture to re-think their votes. In order for
these officials to carry the torture, they again called in the youth
Since the current election run off in not until June 27th, Mugabe has ample
time for these young men to set up base torture camps. Right now there are
roughly 20,000 young boys and men who make up the youth militia. Each member
gets a billion Zimbabwe dollars a day. This pay is equivalent to 3 to 4 US
dollars. The youth militias have set up base camps in each of these
districts and bring in MDC supporters for questioning.
The camps are usually set up at a police station, a local store or an
abandoned schoolyard. Anywhere the Youth Militia decides they would like
place the training camp. Once the base is established the militia carries
out the required requests from the senior officials. It can be as simple as
torturing 15 of the locals so that the rest of the village runs away. The
trick is, once these people run away, the Youth Militia makes sure to
destroy their identity cards. They are not able to vote without these cards.
It's an easy way for Mugabe to destroy Tsengeri's lead.
The political violence in this once economic pillar of African country
success stories is out of control. I wonder what it will take for the
International Community to move and stop this murderous rampage. I have
spent countless hours on the phone with the United Nations and The Red
Cross-Zimbabwe needs HELP! I am flabbergasted by the Bureaucratic maze of
The state backed violence has reached a pinnacle in rural areas. Mugabe and
his allies think the rural vote will decide the octogenarian's grip on
17-year-old Chido (her name has been changed) of Mbizi village in Murewa
will live with the horror of the political violence orchestrated by Zanu PF
for the rest of her life. Her life may not be much longer. In their desire
to maintain power, Zanu PF tortures any real or perceived threat from MDC
supporters. This wave of human retribution is calculated to instill fear in
Tsengeri supporters before the presidential run off next month. Truth be
conveyed, Mugabe is instilling terror in every single human being still
stranded in Zimbabwe.
For Chido, May 18, 2008 will always remain deeply etched in her mind as the
blackest day in her life. This was when marauding Zanu PF supporters invaded
their village, kidnapped MDC supporters, took them to their "bases" and beat
them into submission.
"There were 50 of them who came to our homestead at around eight in the
morning and marched my father to one of their bases at Nhakiwa Township. My
father was beaten together with others accused of supporting the MDC."
"About 80 villagers were kidnapped and beaten, 15 people died. My father was
one of the few survivors. I think they gave him a controlled beating because
they knew he is an ailing man." Chidos father suffers from aids.
Apart from beating up the villagers, the marauding thugs reportedly
destroyed homes that belonged to those accused of supporting MDC. "Headman
Gotora Mbizi fled to Harare with his entire family after escaping from the
militia. His homestead is now a heap of rubble and ashes after the thugs had
completed their work. Many homes have suffered the same fate." Said Chido.
Ashe and rubble; broken bodies and souls: a human Myanmar in Zimbabwe.
The leaders of the terror campaign in the area have been identified as
Bonnie Magunje and Fibion Mbizi. Two Zimbabwean men in their mid thirties
who report directly to President Mugabe's team of elimination strategists.
For girls like Chido, the notorious bases set up at Nhakiwa, Mapfeka and
Chitimbe embody the horror suffered by women in such barbaric circumstances.
Thousands of girls under the age of 18 are forced into these bases where
many of them are face gang rape, sexual abuse and torture.
"If they kidnap or beat up a woman, rape is sure to follow and girls like me
become desperate where there is no organization to assist us." Chido is now
hiding in Harare. Her worst fear is that the youth militia will return to
finish off her father who was left behind in Murewa.
A very sad story. Murewa is just a microcosm of the brewing hurricane that
is sweeping through Zimbabwe's rural landscape. The world can show no
greater insensitivity than to watch quietly when thousands of innocent human
beings are caught up in the eye of the storm. Think of that, next time you
buy a cup of designer coffee.
Saturday, 24 May 2008 18:13
War veterans rampaging through Matabeleland South last week were
allegedly forcing villagers to remove satellite television receivers from
They closed down schools and irrigation schemes after targeting
teachers and Ministry of Agriculture workers they accused of influencing
rural voters to turn against President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF in the 29
Terrified villagers told The Standard the ex-combatants, who set up
bases throughout the province, had revived the wartime all-night vigils or
On Wednesday, they forced villagers in the Lushongwe area of Gwanda
North to remove their satellite dishes.
The militias claimed the receivers, popular in most parts of
Matabeleland because there is no transmission of local radio and television,
were "misleading’ them into voting against Zanu PF.
Most villagers can only watch and listen to South African and Botswana
television and radio channels.
The MDC, which says more than 40 of its supporters have been killed
and thousands displaced in the violence countrywide, condemned the latest
assault on villagers’ right to exercise their freedom of association.
"War veterans and Zanu PF militia went through Lushongwe on Wednesday,
forcing villagers to remove satellite dishes, saying the dishes were a bad
influence on the villagers," said Petros Mukwena, the provincial secretary
of the MDC-Arthur Mutambara.
"Education has also been disrupted after the teachers were chased
away, resulting in the schools being closed."
Matabeleland South police could not be reached for comment on the
Meanwhile in Kezi district, five schools were forced to close down
after the former liberation war fighters chased away all the teachers,
accusing them of influencing the villagers to vote against Zanu PF.
The schools are Tjewondo primary and secondary, Marinoha and Zamanyoni
primary and St Anne’s secondary. This brings to 15 the number of schools
closed by the war veterans in Matabeleland South.
Other schools forced to shut down after teachers fled Zanu PF militia
include Zezani Mission and Zhukwe, Sizeze, Sitezi, Maphane, Khozi, Wabayi,
Nyandeni, Nkazhe and Gohole primary schools.
Raymond Majongwe, the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe
secretary general said: "Schools have become targets of the Zanu PF militia,
resulting in dozens of them closing down.
On Thursday the war veterans allegedly took over plots at Mhabhinyane
irrigation scheme in Matobo district, helping themselves to vegetable and
maize that is still to be harvested.
By Nqobani Ndlovu
Saturday, 24 May 2008 18:08
Ex-ZIPRA high command combatants have warned the current wave of
political violence could deal a fatal blow to the fragile Unity Accord.
Observers said the warning from the top military brass of Joshua Nkomo’s
PF Zapu armed wing during the struggle showed Zanu PF was divided over
President Robert Mugabe’s violent campaign for re-election on 27 June.
A faction of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’
Association (ZNLWVA), led by Jabulani Sibanda is reportedly leading the
attacks against MDC supporters, especially in rural areas.
But Retired Colonel Thomas Ngwenya, formerly of the Zipra high command
and the Revolutionary Council, last week said they wanted to distance
themselves from the violence.
Ngwenya said he was speaking on behalf of his colleagues in the former
Ngwenya is a member of Zanu PF’s National Consultative Assembly (NCA).
He said many people, among them Zanu PF supporters, were beginning to
wonder if the struggle was waged for "one person, one vote".
"On behalf of Zipra cadres and commanders as well as the war veterans’
association formed by Zanla and Zipra ex-combatants, I want to categorically
state we are not part and parcel of Jabulani Sibanda’s campaign of harassing
and beating up innocent people," he said.
"As former members of the high command we have much respect for the
party leadership, in particular those from PF Zapu, which merged with Zanu
PF, but we cannot allow our cause to be rubbished by rogue elements."
Analysts say by speaking out against the violence ex-Zipra fighters
might influence South African President Thabo Mbeki to be firmer in his
dealings with President Robert Mugabe because of their solid ties with SA’s
African National Congress.
Zipra fought side by side with ANC’s Umkhonto We Sizwe during the
struggle. A group of retired South African army generals have been in the
country to investigate reports of political violence on behalf of Mbeki.
Ngwenya said it was time Mugabe showed leadership by reining in the
rogue war veterans and allow voters to elect leaders of their choice.
The MDC claims more than 42 of its supporters have died in the
violence, while thousands more have been displaced.
Human rights groups have accused Zanu PF of launching a campaign to
drive out MDC members from their homes so they would not vote in the
Zanu PF has denied the allegations and instead accused the MDC of
busing its youths from urban areas to attack ruling party supporters in
A number of senior ex-Zipra commanders joined former Home Affairs
Minister, Dumiso Dabengwa when he broke ranks with Mugabe to support Simba
Makoni in his bid for the presidency.
Dabengwa has dismissed some of the war veterans leading Mugabe’s
campaign as "bogus", saying they were too young to have taken part in the
Sibanda was not available for comment as he was said to be campaigning
for Mugabe in rural areas.
By Kholwani Nyathi
Saturday, 24 May 2008 18:06
ON the morning of Sunday, 11 May 2008 Sam Kahari, an MDC supporter
from Chidembo village in Shamva, was dragged out of bed by Zanu PF youths
and war veterans, according to his wife, Loveness Matumi, 29.
In hers and her four children’s presence the group now known in
Madziwa as the "Chabopa squad," murdered Kahari.
He was found dead with three axes stuck in his skull, according to
fellow MDC activists who came to the house later. His wife and children fled
after witnessing the murder.
Later that morning, the same group burnt down more than 20 homesteads,
claiming they belonged to MDC supporters in the village.
More than 50 people, including Kahari’s widow, now scattered at
hospitals in Mashonaland Central and Harare, were injured in that early
Sunday morning attack.
According to MDC officials in the area, on Sunday 17 May the "Chabopa
squad" abducted the MDC treasurer for Ward 9, Edson Zaya, from his home
around 1PM, dragged him to Chidembo shopping centre and killed him in broad
The member-in-charge of Madziwa police station, identifying himself
only as Dongonda, said the police made a number of arrests at Peter farm on
Tuesday and Wednesday last week in connection with the murders and the
violence in the area. But he declined to release the names of those
"I refer you to our headquarters for any further details," Dongonda
The police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena could
not be reached for comment.
During a visit to the area on Wednesday last week, The Standard was
shown the spot where Zaya’s body was found, outside a shop said to belong to
a Zanu PF House of Assembly member re-elected on 29 March.
"Everyone knows where Edson died," said Stanford Kachaya, MDC youth
chairperson for Shamva North, "and they don’t want to set foot on the spot.
Our community is very superstitious."
Zaya’s friends and relatives claimed they found his body with bruises
which they believe were caused by human teeth, a deep cut to the head and
scars that they suspected were due to hot plastic being applied to his back.
The gruesome murders of Zaya and Kahari are among the harrowing tales
of terror The Standard heard from eyewitnesses and others affected by the
political turmoil in the area last week.
This area is part of Shamva North constituency in Mashonaland Central
and is situated about 200km from Harare.
We arrived at the homestead of Godfrey Chimombe, the MDC House of
Assembly candidate for the constituency.
There was a huge poster of Morgan Tsvangirai at the gate and other
party campaign material around the yard.
Chimombe’s home is now a sanctuary to more than 50 MDC activists from
Chidembo, Kahari and Madzivanzira villages, all displaced by political
violence. The activists’ tales are heart-rending.
The so called Chabopa squad, they said, had killed, maimed, threatened
and burnt people’s houses and livestock, stolen people’s belongings,
destroyed shops belonging to MDC supporters and raped innocent women.
The group forces people to attend endless meetings where they are
verbally abused and accused of being "traitors".
Chimombe says the gang, from Peter farm, is led by a self-proclaimed
Chimombe chokes with emotion as he speaks of the circumstances
surrounding Kahari and Zaya’s deaths.
"It saddens me that these young, energetic people with families
looking up to them, are gone. The way they were brutally murdered pains me
even more," says Chimombe.
"I have this huge family now, but we have nothing and watching all
these people go through all this pain just makes me angry."
At Chimombe’s homestead where MDC supporters are huddled for safety,
the youths take turns as security guards every hour of the day.
MDC candidate for the council elections for Shamva North, Chenayi
Yohane, was the first in the village to have his home torched by the Chabopa
"I have no home, as I speak, but have refused to be chased away from
my home by these lunatics," Yohane said.
"The very next day they burnt my house, I put up a makeshift home
there. I remain defiant and I dare them to come back."
Obert Nhara and more than 20 other youths in secondary school were
forced to leave school after continuous harassment by the Zanu PF youths.
Ambuya Naume Makamero, from Chidembo village, is homeless after Zanu
PF youths burnt down her house. She has sought refuge at Chimombe’s home,
together with her three grandchildren and daughter.
"We will support the MDC to the bitter end," says the 67-year-old
former teacher. "This is what we decided when we went to the elections and
now we are paying for it. Ini ndiri chinja kusvika muguva rangu." (I shall
remain with MDC into my grave.)
By Bertha Shoko
Saturday, 24 May 2008 15:38
RESETTLEMENT boss Dr Christopher Mushambi has reportedly taken over a
horticultural concern in Odzi which is protected under the Bilateral Treaty
and Protection of Investments (BIPAs).
Mushambi was repeatedly asked by The Standard if he had moved onto the
farm which is protected under BIPAs. Each time, his response was: "Why don’t
you ask the Ministry of Foreign Affairs? If there is anything regarding
BIPAs the ministry is the one to answer. I don’t sign protocols."
The Standard heard last week that Hunthrin Services P/L — a joint
horticultural venture between an indigenous Zimbabwean and Dutch investors —
is protected under BIPAs between the government of Zimbabwe and the Royal
Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Hunthrin is a Hypericum flower project, the variety of Hypericum being
This is grown under licence to a Dutch breeder, H & B R van den Bosch
BV, and Hunthrin Services P/L is currently the only licensee of this variety
of Hypericum in the world.
An offer letter dated 2 October 2007, was written to Mushambi, the
director of Resettlement, for the farm under the A2 scheme.
But on 14 December in the High Court, Justice Charles Hungwe issued a
provisional order barring Mushambi from occupying the farm. He granted an
interim relief that "to the extent that it becomes necessary, the Deputy
Sheriff be and is hereby authorised and empowered to attend the eviction of
the Third respondent or any other person claiming occupation of the property
The interim relief empowered the Deputy Sheriff to enlist the
assistance of the police so that the order was executed and implemented in
Notwithstanding Justice Hungwe’s order, on 8 February Mushambi moved
onto the property and took up residence of the farmhouse.
The owners of the farm said Mushambi’s action resulted in work
stoppage, with flowers awaiting shipment to Holland for Valentine’s Day 14
February) "left to rot in the cold rooms and the lands".
Leoni Cuelenaere, the Netherland’s deputy ambassador, said she went to
the farm but was denied entry by Mushambi’s workers.
Another provisional order was granted in the High Court, Justice
Anne-Marie Gowora which barred Mushambi from occupying the farm.
After their eviction from the property by the Deputy Sheriff on 11
March, the illegal occupants returned to the property almost immediately.
Hunthrin Services employees tried to return to the farm the following day,
together with a police escort, but were met by a mob who denied them access,
saying this was now "Mushambi Farm", The Standard was told last week.
The farm owners told The Standard last week that Mushambi’s takeover
of the farm had rendered some workers redundant as he employed only six of
the 180 original workforce.
In addition to the main flower enterprise, wheat, soya beans and maize
were also grown, and 10 ha of Macadamia trees were established in 2007 as
the beginning of a new 40 ha Macadamia project.
Cuelenaere confirmed she was barred from entering the farm in
She said the Dutch Embassy had raised the issue of the farm with the
Foreign Affairs Ministry.
"They (ministry of Foreign Affairs) said they will forward the
questions to relevant authorities," Cuelanaere said.
Ambassador Joey Bimha, Foreign Affairs permanent secretary said he was
not aware of any representations made to the ministry by the Royal
Netherlands Embassy pertaining to the farm.
Bimha said: "I am not aware of that. I have not received any
communication from the Netherlands Embassy."
He referred The Standard to the Ministry of Land, Land Reform and
Repeated efforts to get comment from Sophia Christina Tsvakwi, the
ministry’s permanent secretary were fruitless.
By Ndamu Sandu
Saturday, 24 May 2008 18:10
United States citizens have been warned against travelling to Zimbabwe
in the run-up to the presidential run-off election next month due to
political instability caused by tension after the disputed 29 March
The travel warning — the second in as many months — is likely to
escalate losses in revenue from tourism, already suffering as a result of
the violence immediately after the 29 March elections.
The MDC says the post-election violence is part of a Zanu PF campaign
strategy to intimidate its supporters into voting for President Robert
Mugabe, pitted for the second time this year against MDC leader, Morgan
"US citizens should defer non-essential travel to Zimbabwe at this
time," reads the US State Department’s warning.
"While the country prepares for a run-off of the presidential
elections . . . Zimbabwean security forces, including some military police
and the police, as well as so-called war veterans are creating a climate of
intimidation and fear across the country."
It said there were continued risks of arbitrary detention or arrest.
The updated travel advisory expires on 1 July this year. No comment
could be obtained from Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, the Minister of Information and
The run-off election on 27 June comes amid rising violence against
The MDC blames the violence on Zanu PF which it says is intended to
intimidate its supporters into voting for Mugabe, a charge Zanu PF has
At a police pass out parade in Harare last week, Mugabe was quoted as
having said: "The MDC opposition, formed at the behest of Britain, is on an
evil crusade of dividing our people along political lines as they continue
to fan and sponsor heinous acts of political violence targeting innocent
Human rights organisations, the MDC and the regional Sadc say the
political environment characterized by violence is not conducive for a free
and fair election.
According to the MDC, more than 40 of its supporters have been killed
while over 6 000 have been displaced.
By Nqobani Ndlovu
Saturday, 24 May 2008 14:29
ONE of the more subtle but nevertheless great impediments to the
transfer of power in Zimbabwe is a rigid belief by President Mugabe and Zanu
PF in a kind of "end of history" approach with regards to matters of
There has been, it must be said, great underestimation by opponents of
the weight of the ideology that guides Zanu PF and in particular, Mugabe
himself. Resolving the conflict in Zimbabwe requires a proper understanding
of this belief system and the ideology that fuels it. There is a particular
need to understand, challenge and overcome the "end of history" approach
that characterises Zanu PF politics.
Mugabe and Zanu PF believe very strongly that the historical
progression of ideas on governance in Zimbabwe effectively ended when they
helped to overcome the imperialist forces at independence.
In their view, the anti-imperialist ideology and system established
since 1980 was and remains the epitome to which every Zimbabwean must aspire
and which cannot, therefore, be bettered. According to this view, the search
for a new ideology and system of governance effectively ended upon the
realisation of the anti-imperialist ideal. Accordingly, the anti-imperial
ideology presents the ultimate and only point around which a system of
governance can be built.
It is, therefore, hardly surprising that in the eyes of Zanu PF, the
MDC merely represents a counter-revolutionary force that is being engineered
by those threatening what is considered the supreme and final ideal.
There is nothing wrong with the anti-imperialistic ideology but Zanu
PF has failed to grasp at least two things:
First, they have failed to implement their ideas in such a way as to
protect the country against forces of imperialism they claim to be fighting.
If anything, having reduced the country to its current condition, they have
weakened both the state and citizens, thereby making the country ever more
vulnerable to outside forces.
Second, adopting an "end of history" approach to matters of governance
is a grave mistake that overlooks the realities of the evolution of ideas
and systems of governance. It is a mistake to believe that there is nothing
else beyond anti-imperialistic ideas upon which to build governance systems.
In other words, Mugabe and Zanu PF are mistaken if they believe that their
ideas represent the "end of history" in the evolution of ideas on
governance. Rather, ideas in politics, as in life, continue to be developed,
challenging accepted wisdom and offering new alternatives.
But Zanu PF’s "end of history" approach to politics and governance is
akin to that taken by some people following the end of the Cold War and the
collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Then, there was great
optimism among those who saw it as an occasion of triumphal celebration for
the success of the idea and system of liberal democracy and market
capitalism. Some went so far as to call it the "end of history" in the sense
that in finding liberal democracy, humankind had finally reached the "end of
history" in terms of ideological evolution.
Perhaps the most prominent proponent of this idea is Francis Fukuyama,
whose book, The End of History and the Last Man, became a bestseller in many
countries. It was argued that liberal democracy had triumphed over its
competitors in the battle of ideas on how the affairs of humankind should be
governed. It was, therefore, argued that there was nothing else to better it
and for that reason, history had effectively "ended".
This thesis has, quite rightly, been challenged and critiqued from
many angles since it was put forward in 1989. The conclusions that history
had ended appear to have been premature.
In the same way, though in respect of a remarkably different set of
ideas, Mugabe and Zanu PF appear to subscribe (without saying so expressly)
to an "end of history" thesis with regards to matters of governance in
For where Fukuyama and others see liberal democracy as representing
the "end of history" for humankind, Mugabe and followers see the
anti-imperialist ideology as representing the "end of history" for the
Zimbabwean. And where Fukuyama thinks there is nothing else to better the
ideology and system of liberal democracy, Mugabe believes that there is
nothing to better the ideology and system of anti-imperialism.
Anti-imperialist ideology, like liberal democracy, has many merits but
to suggest that it represents the "end of history"; that there is nothing
else beyond it, is, surely, taking an extreme position that closes space to
other ideas that could improve upon it.
In so doing, Zanu PF is refusing to acknowledge that the battle of
ideas is a continuous process; that history is about the constant evolution
of ideas about governance and societal arrangements.
What Mugabe and Zanu PF fail to grasp is that however much they love
Zimbabwe; that however greatly their see themselves as its ultimate
guardians; that there is no serious Zimbabwean who would willingly submit
himself and the country to the forces of imperialism. An anti-imperialistic
stance is not a bad thing — but if it is narrowly construed in the way that
Zanu PF has done, then it becomes counter-productive. There is need to
minimise paranoia and instead to open space for new ideas to enable the
evolution of current thinking on governance.
The anti-imperialist ideas for which they fought remain as strong
among the new generation of Zimbabweans as they did during their time.
Mugabe and his colleagues are mere mortals who, one day, must answer
the invitation of the Creator. Things will not stop simply because of that
circumstance. Ideas will continue to be developed long after our generation.
The defeat of imperialism did not represent the end of history, but the
continuation and evolution of ideas on governance.
The MDC may yet assume a governance role but it, too, will succumb to
defeat if it does not deliver according to its undertakings. And when it
fails, a new set of people and ideas will emerge to take its place. That way
systems and ideas evolve.
But if someone considers that their idea and system represents the
"end of history", then there is a big problem. This is the big problem with
Zanu PF’s approach to politics and governance. There is a refusal to
acknowledge that ideas evolve; that they are evolving but that this
evolution is in no way indicative of counter-revolutionary intent. They
simply have to get out of this mode in which they are guided by the idea of
the "end of history" and acknowledge that there is something more to which
Zimbabweans can aspire.
By Alex Magaisa is based at The University of Kent Law School and can
be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis e-mail address is being protected
Saturday, 24 May 2008 14:23
Speaking in Parliament during the budget debate of the Minister of
Foreign Affairs in 2003, amongst other things I said:
"Like peace and stability, democracy and good governance are
developmental issues. Africa waged a century-long struggle against
colonialism and apartheid precisely to establish the principle that
governments should derive legitimacy through the consent of the governed.
Democratic institutions are therefore not privileges that may be extended or
withheld at the discretion of those who wield power. They are an
entitlement; a right that the people of this continent waged struggle to
attain and won at great cost!
"In the ANC’s continuing interaction with the political parties in
Zimbabwe, we have warned against the subversion the rule of law as we have
about the heightening of tension.
"We have also warned against the temptations of recklessness that
could easily precipitate armed conflict. We have consistently appealed to
the values and norms that the national liberation movement in Zimbabwe waged
struggle to attain — the values of democracy; accountable government; the
rule of law; an independent judiciary; non-racialism; political tolerance
and freedom of the media. Not a single one of these values was observed
under British colonial rule, let alone under the UDI regime of Ian Smith and
his cronies. We consider it a scandal that they are now being undermined by
the movement that struggled to achieve them."
Consequently I was deeply shocked, if not alarmed, by an article on
Zimbabwe from the pens of Eddie Maloka and Ben Magubane carried in on Sunday
4 May 2008.
I was shocked by the suggestion of the two authors that the criteria
we normally employ in judging the behaviour of governments are extremely
flexible and are so malleable that what we judge as criminal in one instance
we should find quite acceptable, even defensible, in another.
I thought it was common cause, within the ranks the ANC that the
legitimacy of a government derives from the mandate it receives from the
people. That mandate is usually expressed through free and fair general
elections. The record will show that the ANC has consistently adhered to
these principles since its inauguration and re-affirmed them in "The African
Claims" of 1943; the Freedom Charter of 1955, the Strategy and Tactics
document adopted at Morogoro and in every subsequent document setting out
its aims and principles, including the 1987 "Constitutional Guidelines for a
Democratic South Africa". What is more, we have also insisted that these are
principles applicable to all countries, including Zimbabwe.
Anyone familiar with the history of European colonialism in Africa and
Asia knows that at the core of the colonialist project was seizure and
control over the natural resources of the colony. In the white settler
colonies of Africa, like Kenya, Zimbabwe and Namibia, seizure of the land
was invariably the means of acquiring such control. The reproduction of the
long quotations from The Guardian in the City Press article thus serves no
other purpose but to remind the forgetful of that reality. But, the
information they contain adds neither light nor weight to the principal
thrust of the two authors’ line of argument.
Underlying the line of argument which the two authors advance is the
suggestion that since the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) came into
existence after independence, that political formation is necessarily
suspect. They try to buttress this by suggesting that given that, like
Britain, the revanchist "Rhodesian" whites, the USA and the European Union,
the MDC is not happy with the Zanu PF government, there is an indissoluble
link amongst them and they all must be pursuing the same agenda. Proceeding
from these highly flawed premises, they go on to argue that it is therefore
incumbent on anti-imperialists to support Zanu PF.
There are disturbing parallels between these two writers’ line of
argument and the all too familiar ones emanating from former US Presidents
like Teddy Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and, in our day, George W Bush. Step
back a little, invert the names, and the line of reasoning can be seen for
what it is. Justifying unqualified US support for right wing dictators in
Latin America, Teddy Roosevelt declared:" Somoza (the former banana-republic
dictator of Nicaragua) is a bastard, but he is our bastard!" The authors
also deploy the same guilt by association, so loved by anti-Communists and
other rightists when they repress dissent. Virtually echoing the sentiments
of Senator Joe McCarthy: "If someone sounds like a duck, associates with
ducks, and walks like a duck, can it be unfair to infer that he is a duck!"
But perhaps the most alarming suggestion of all is that opposition to
Zanu PF, irrespective of its merits, is ipso facto illegitimate and
necessarily counter-revolutionary, and therefore pro-imperialist.
This curious line of reasoning dominated in the Communist parties of
the Soviet Union and other east European countries. When workers complained
about the conditions of work (as they did in Poland) that was characterised
as counter-revolution. If intellectuals complained about rigid censorship
and the repression of the free flow of information, ideas and knowledge,
that was counter-revolution. Even youth, yearning to enjoy rock and other
forms of popular music produced in the rest of the world, that was
Is it any wonder that those countries are now governed either by right
wing coalitions or by anti-Communist liberals who want to hitch their
countries firmly to the EU or to US-led alliances like NATO?
Proceeding from the tried and tested principles of our liberation
movement, I contend that democracy is not a luxury, perhaps affordable in a
few rich countries, but far too expensive for peoples and countries emerging
from decades of colonial domination. What is more, I insist that democracy
is not merely the right to participate in elections every few years; it is a
complex institutional framework that serves to secure the ordinary citizen
against all forms of arbitrary authority, whether secular or ecclesiastical.
It is an undisputed historical fact that colonialism denied the
colonised precisely these protections, subjecting them to the tyranny, not
only of imperialist governments, but often to the whims of colonialist
settlers and officials. 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. Hence
Kwame Nkrumah: "Seek ye first the political kingdom!" The content of
anti-imperialism was precisely the struggle to attain these democratic
rights. In the case of Zimbabwe, democratic rights arrived that night when
the Union Jack was lowered and was replaced by the flag of an independent
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?
Maloka and Magubane brush such questions aside with a breathtaking
recklessness. To invoke the memory of Patrice Lumumba in this context can
only be an example of woolly thinking. Lumumba, let us remember, was
democratically elected by the majority of the Congolese people. To subvert
the will of the Congolese, as expressed in general elections, the
imperialists stage-managed Mobutu’s coup, kidnapped Lumumba and had his
enemies murder him.
The same applies to Salvador Allende of Chile. The CIA subverted the
expressed will of the Chilean people by staging a coup to overturn the
democratically elected government of Chile.
Maloka and Magubane want us to ignore the will of the Zimbabwean
people, as expressed in elections, and do what the imperialists did in Congo
and Chile. Such action, they claim, would be anti-imperialist. In other
words, we must behave like the imperialists to demonstrate our commitment to
‘For us or against us’
Rather than raising and attempting to answer such tough questions,
they skirt around them by marshalling a mixture of emotive arguments and
outright political blackmail, again reminiscent of the far-right and its
adherents. You are either with Zanu PF in the anti-imperialist camp, or
against it (and therefore with Blair, Bush, the DA, etc).
If that has familiar ring, it is because the Bush administration has
employed it repeatedly in support of its aggressive actions against all and
sundry. To quote them: "You are either with us, or against us!"
It cannot possibly be right that, while we in South Africa expect our
democratic institutions to protect us from arbitrary power, we expect the
people of Zimbabwe to be content with less.
If Zanu PF has lost the confidence of a substantial number of the
citizens of that country, such that the only means by which it can win
elections is either by intimidating the people or otherwise rigging them, it
has only itself to blame. Nobody doubts the anti-imperialist credentials of
Zanu PF, but that cannot be sufficient reason to support it if it is
misgoverning Zimbabwe and brutalising the people.
Let all recall that the people of Zimbabwe endured a 15-year war of
national liberation, during which the colonialist regime employed every
device from beatings, to torture, to executions and massacres to repress
them. They did not waver.
Yet it is being suggested that today, for no apparent reason, they
have fallen under the sway of the helpers and agents of that colonial power.
I think that betrays a worrying contempt for the ordinary Zimbabwean. A
contempt reminiscent of the colonialists’ contention that the people rose
against them because they had been incited by "outside agitators"! By the
Russians! By the Chinese!
I do not support the MDC and my track record in the struggle against
imperialism speaks for itself, but I differ most fundamentally with Maloka
and Magubane. It is precisely my commitment to the anti-imperialist agenda
that persuades me that our two comrades are wrong.
We will not assist Zanu PF by encouraging that movement to proceed
along the disastrous course it has embarked on. Offering it uncritical
support because it is anti-imperialist will not help Zanu PF to uncover the
reasons for the steep decline in the legitimacy it once enjoyed. That party
would do well to return to its original vision of a democratic Zimbabwe,
free of colonial domination and the instruments of that domination - such as
arbitrary arrests, police repression of opposition, intimidation of
political critics, etc.
Given the outcome of the recent elections, Zanu PF should surrender
power to the party that has won. Another anti-imperialist movement, the
Sandinistas of Nicaragua, lost an election in 1991. Today they are back in
office having won an election that even the US was unable to subvert. In
order to win the Sandinistas had slowly to win back the confidence of the
people, who then voted them back into power. Any attempt by Zanu PF to cling
to power through overt or covert violence will only compound its problems by
stripping it even further of the legitimacy it won by leading the Zimbabwean
people in their struggle for independence, freedom and democracy!
Commenting on the dilemma faced by the Bolsheviks after their victory
in October 1917, that great internationalist and Communist, Rosa Luxemburg,
"Freedom only for the supporters of the government, only for the
members of one party - however numerous they may be - is no freedom at all.
Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks
differently. Not because of any fanatical concept of ‘justice’ but because
all that is instructive, wholesome and purifying in political freedom
depends on this essential characteristic, and its effectiveness vanishes
when ‘freedom’ becomes a special privilege."
Maloka and Magubane would do well to weigh her remarks seriously.
Perhaps, had the Bolsheviks been a bit more attentive to such constructive
criticism from an unimpeachable revolutionary, we might not be complaining
of the demise of the Soviet Union, but could possibly be celebrating its
By Z Pallo Jordan :Member of the ANC National Executive Committee
(NEC). This article is written in his personal capacity.
Saturday, 24 May 2008 14:18
THE new ZBH boss seems to have been rewarded for a single act of
television outrage featuring an opposition presidential candidate in the 29
Happison Muchechetere was at his waspish, acerbic best in a comical
encounter with Simba Makoni.
The script must have called for him to either shut up the former
minister of finance with invective, or to give him hell with inflammatory
accusations of disloyalty to Zimbabwe and allegiance to a foreign power.
But Simba took the fight to his corner. He appealed to the viewers, in
what I thought was a parody of the mendicant friar: Look, this man is
preventing me from responding to his accusations — is this what the
government views as free and fair campaigning?
Or words to that effect.
Happison looked mortified at the unexpected rejoinder. Like many other
viewers, I thought Simba had scored big. It’s fortunate he didn’t win, or
Happison would have faced the hellfire of a political Gehena.
Happison’s reward for what most of us thought was a third-rate
performance in that TV debate — the top job at ZBH — was not unexpected, if
Zanu PF is still reeling from the after-effects of that thorough
drubbing by the MDC. In such a dazed state, the party may be forgiven for
acting like a punch-drunk heavyweight boxer after a pounding by the one and
only one who floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee.
The party’s state of desperation is not only tragic, but somewhat
comical, as well. To win the presidential run-off next month, it is
prepared, not only to shed blood, but to shed whatever dignity it had
retained after that historic rout.
Many former colleagues of Henry Muradzikwa were saddened by his public
ouster from that job as head of ZBH. It reminded many of how, again in the
public glare, he was fired as editor of The Sunday Mail.
Under the editorship of Willie Musarurwa, the paper, though acquired
by the government in 1981, had become gutsier than it had ever been, with a
regular column whose contents belied its alleged lapdog loyalty to Zanu PF.
Muradzikwa did little to dilute the paper’s iconoclastic, doggedly
balanced presentation of news and opinion — and paid the price.
He ended up at Ziana, another government media outfit the government
eventually succeeded in shaping into its own empty vessel of non-news.
Since independence, the government has struggled to tailor public
broadcasting into its own image of a stodgy, passionless, inelegant fascist
party of the Stone Age.
Anyone placed in charge of ZBC who has strayed from the straight and
narrow path of "seeing no evil and hearing no evil" about the government was
soon thrown out on their ear.
At one time, particularly in the early years of independence, there
seemed to be a passionate attempt to make both radio and TV listener- and
This was in spite of the presence at the helm of people with solid
liberation struggle credentials, people who seemed to long for the days of
the original Voice of Zimbabwe, broadcasting from Maputo during the
What always stunned me was the reluctance of the new government to
learn from the experience of their predecessors. The Muzorewa-Smith regime
had the resources to use both radio and television to "sell their story"
like heavily buttered toast to the voters.
Yet that still wasn’t enough to influence the outcome of the
independence elections against "Huruyadzo". They were thoroughly pulverised.
The truth is if a party enters an election with a plausible, credible
platform, nothing can stop its juggernnaut advance.
For the 29 March election, Zanu PF had a platform, but as someone
said: "Me vote for a party whose talent is for floating raw sewage in the
In the run-off, it has no platform, in spite of spending a king’s
ransom on newspaper, radio and TV advertising.
Robert Mugabe can shout about land, empowerment and sovereignty. Most
voters know what they want. It’s not Mugabe and raw sewage.
No doubt the murders being committed against unarmed villagers may
frighten a few not to vote with their consciences, but enough will show the
courage that has seen Good triumph over Evil — the readiness to sacrifice
for a good cause.
There must come a time soon when Zimbabwe can have a media kingdom
that regulates itself, knows its limits, owes allegiance only to the Truth —
which could never translate into Zanu PF and its control freak mandarins.
The beauty of such a system must lie in the freedom of the people to
make up their minds on the basis of facts, offered to them without comic
By Bill Saidi
From: Veritas <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 26 May 2008 21:13:26 +0200
BILL WATCH 21/2008
[24th May 2008]
Update on Presidential Run-off and By-Elections
Polling Day is Friday 27th June - The Presidential Run-off Election and the three By-elections will be held concurrently on this date.
No new election-related regulations or rules were gazetted this week.
Nomination day for all three by-elections is next Friday, 30th May. The nomination courts will sit at the Magistrates Court, 5th Avenue, Gwanda for Gwanda South; the Magistrates Court, Tredgold Building, Bulawayo for Pelandaba-Mpopoma; and the Magistrates Court, Main Street, Gweru, for Redcliff. Note: A candidate who was duly nominated for one of these constituencies for the 29th March elections does not need to submit a fresh nomination paper; if he or she intends to contest the by-election, all that is necessary is written notification to the constituency elections officer of the intention to remain a candidate. New candidates must submit nomination papers.
Information from ZEC
Accreditation of observers and journalists
Accreditation of observers and journalists - international and local - will start next week. Enquiries should be directed to ZEC.
National Multi-Party Liaison Committee meeting
The National Multi-Party Liaison Committee met on Friday 23rd May to discuss matters relating to the Presidential run-off election scheduled for 27th May. Only ZANU-PF and MDC-T representatives were invited, because only their candidates will contest the run-off election. The meeting was chaired by ZEC Commissioner Mrs Sarah Kachingwe. In a closed session the two parties discussed the problem of inter-party violence and agreed to formulate modalities on conflict resolution; they will report back at the Committee's meeting next week.
Number of Polling Stations
The number of polling stations may be reduced, following very low turn-outs at some polling stations in the poll of 29th March. ZEC will discuss this subject with contesting parties,
Sealing of Postal Ballot Boxes
Postal ballot boxes will be will be sealed by constituency elections officers on 20th June. Candidates and their agents are entitled to be present at this procedure. [Note: When covering envelopes containing postal votes are received, the constituency elections officer must place the envelopes, unopened, in the sealed postal ballot box. The postal ballot boxes will be opened in the presence of candidates, their agents and accredited observers after the conclusion of the poll, at the time fixed for the collation of polling station returns by the constituency elections officer; at that time the covering envelopes will be opened and their contents checked, and valid ballot papers included in the vote count for the constituency.]
The postal voting option is available only to a registered voter who will be absent from his or her constituency by reason of being-
· on duty as an electoral officer or a member of a "disciplined force" [police, army, air force, prison service], or
· absent from Zimbabwe on Government service, or
· a spouse of such a person [but only if also absent from his or her constituency accompanying the person on duty].
Applications for postal ballot papers must be submitted to the Chief Elections Officer not later than noon on 17th June. The application form must be completed in the presence of a "competent witness" of their choice [this must be a commissioner of oaths, a commissioned officer, bank manager, lawyer, doctor, etc.] who must certify the applicant's identity and the truth of the application. If the application is accepted, the Chief Elections Officer sends the applicant a ballot paper, a declaration of identity form, a ballot paper envelope and a larger covering envelope addressed to the constituency elections officer.
The procedure for the casting of a postal ballot also requires a "competent witness", who must certify the identity of the voter on the declaration of identity form and witness the placing of the marked ballot paper in the ballot paper envelope and the placing of that envelope in the official covering envelope. The competent witness must also be present when the voter places his or her cross on the ballot paper, but the voter must do this secretly and must not allow the competent witness to see how he or she has voted [Electoral Act, section 75(1)(c)]. No-one else may be present when the voter places his cross on the ballot paper. The covering envelope is then sent to the relevant constituency elections officer. On receipt of covering envelopes, the constituency elections officer must place them in the sealed postal ballot box, where they will remain until opened after polling [see above, under Sealing of Postal Ballot Boxes].
Postal Voting in the Disciplined Forces
Notwithstanding these elaborate provisions for the secrecy of postal voting, there were complaints of irregularities in postal voting by members of the disciplined forces in the poll of 29th March, including allegations that personnel were ordered by senior officers how to vote, were not permitted to vote secretly, had ballot papers marked for them, or were otherwise denied the benefits of the statutory procedure that would have enabled them to vote with due secrecy. The system is open to these allegations because the Electoral Act permits members of the disciplined forces to use their own commissioned officers as competent witnesses and to submit their postal vote applications and ballot paper to the electoral authorities via their commanding officers; it also precludes independent outside monitoring of what happens between voter and competent witness when the postal vote is cast.
Concerns Relating to Elections
According to Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights' reports "many presiding and polling officers have been arrested and accused of having been part of a plot to rig the elections in favour of candidates from the Movement for Democratic Change". There have also been reports from teachers unions of teachers who acted as polling officers being beaten up and not being able through injury or fear to return to their schools. This raises the problem of whether ZEC will be able to recruit and train replacement polling officers of the necessary education and calibre.
Civic Society Observers
All recent Zimbabwe elections have had domestic observers. This year the Zimbabwe Election Support Network [ZESN] trained and deployed observers from 38 civic organisations. Recent ZESN reports have indicated that since the March 29 polling many of their accredited observers have been victimised - some beaten severely, hundreds having had to flee after having property and homes destroyed.
Post Election Violence
The increase in severity and numbers of incidents of violence militate against free and fair elections. As the election period has commenced [with ZEC fixing the date] observers have the right to be observing election conditions throughout the country NOW.
Internally Displaced People Disenfranchised?
The destruction of homes and crops as part of post-election violence is leading to a growing number of IDPs. There is as yet no provision for their casting their votes outside their home constituencies to which they may not be able to return to vote.
As the election period has commenced, the media should already be observing the fair coverage provisions of Part IVA of the ZEC Act and the Media Coverage of Elections Regulations [SI 33/2008]. Compliance by State-controlled media is questionable.
[Reports available - detention of election agents [firstname.lastname@example.org]; violence on election observers [email@example.com]; national violence monitoring [firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; media monitoring [email@example.com]
Update on Council Election Results
Council election results for Matabeleland South were published in the press this week. Only the results for Midlands are still to come.
Election Related Court Cases
Chiota and Shumba v ZEC
On 22nd May the Supreme Court reserved judgment in the case brought by would-be Presidential candidates Chiota and Shumba who claim infringement of their constitutional rights by reason of the rejection of their nomination papers by the Presidential nomination court in mid-February. They seek a declaration that both were duly nominated and an order for the holding of a Presidential poll in which they can take part. Both parties had earlier appealed unsuccessfully to the Electoral Court. The Electoral Act rules out an appeal against the Electoral Court's decision, so the case has been brought to the Supreme Court as a constitutional application.
Moyo v ZEC and the President
In this case, also in the Supreme Court, Prof. Jonathan Moyo MP challenges ZEC's fixing of the date for the Presidential run-off election, arguing that that the President, not ZEC, should have fixed the date, and seeking an order directing the President to fix a date not later than the 14th June for the run-off. The case has not yet been heard.
During the week pre-trial conferences were held for the first group of the 105 election petitions lodged with the Electoral Court. Hearings have not yet commenced.
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.
Institute for War & Peace Reporting
General consensus among MDC officials that Tsvangirai’s absence has made it
difficult for the party to roll out its run-off campaign.
By Jabu Soko in Harare (ZCR No. 148, 27-May-08)
The seven weeks spent outside Zimbabwe by Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the
Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, following the March election has raised
fears among supporters that he may have conceded some ground to President
Tsvangirai returned home only on May 24, with just over a month to go before
the June 27 presidential run-off.
MDC members privy to the way Tsvangirai operates say that although his
absence occurred while his supporters were reeling from the alleged brutal
retribution wrought by Mugabe and his militia, Tsvangirai used those seven
weeks to better his and his party’s image in the eyes of the region, the
continent and the West.
But MDC insiders have been charging that in the wake of violence in both
rural and urban areas for the past month, Tsvangirai had not helped matters
by “over-staying” in South Africa at a time when his followers were
reportedly being persecuted by militia and state security agents linked to
ZANU-PF – which, having lost parliament to the MDC, is counting heavily on
There was a general consensus among MDC officials and supporters that
Tsvangirai’s continued absence had created a leadership vacuum in the party,
making it difficult for it to adequately roll out its run-off campaign,
especially in the no-go areas created to give Mugabe an edge over Tsvangirai
in the three Mashonaland provinces, Masvingo, Manicaland and some parts of
the Midlands. Thousands of MDC supporters have fled the violence in the
Party officials had felt that the no-go areas and the displacement of
opposition supporters could distort the outcome of the run-off poll – hence
the need for the MDC leader to move with speed to outline strategies to
break into those areas, a strategy they said did not warrant his long
absence from the country.
However, Takura Zhangazha, a political analyst, while agreeing that
Tsvangirai had stayed for too long outside the country, felt he had used his
absence wisely by launching a successful diplomatic offensive in and around
“It was necessary to meet regional, continental and world leaders as well as
any other leaders to make the plight of the country apparent,” said
Zhangazha, who is also acting director of the Zimbabwe chapter of the Media
Institute of Southern Africa. “The success of his diplomatic offensive is
all there for all to see. He has been well received in SADC [the Southern
African Development Community], the AU [African Union] and even had a
chit-chat with the secretary general of the UN.”
The MDC leader’s foray into the region forced SADC current chairman, Zambian
president Levy Mwanawasa, to call an extraordinary meeting of the regional
bloc to discuss the political stalemate in Zimbabwe after the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission, ZEC, delayed announcing the results of the elections.
The meeting coincided with the start of ZANU-PF’s retribution campaign,
which the MDC says has left hundreds of its supporters injured and 45 dead.
South African president Thabo Mbeki, the SADC-sponsored mediator in the
Zimbabwean crisis, visited the country twice as he attempted to break the
political impasse in Harare. “Were it not for [Tsvangirai’s] diplomatic
initiative, all these events would not have unfolded,” said Zhangazha. “It
has made an impact. People should now be happy that he has come back to lead
from the front as all leaders should do.”
Eldred Masunungure, a professor of political science at the University of
Zimbabwe, concurred. “While his absence caused some consternation, it looks
like his diplomatic initiative has scored some successes,” he said, but
added that “it is not good for a leader to be away from his people for so
long, especially considering that his supporters are facing the brunt of the
violence. Politicians should know that politics is risky business”.
Useni Sibanda, a political analyst based in Bulawayo who works as a
coordinator for the Christian Alliance, attributed Tsvangirai’s continued
stay outside Zimbabwe to threats on his life.
“I don’t think he was safe,” said Sibanda.
“Remember the security chiefs are on record as having said that they would
not salute Tsvangirai. The threat was real. There was no need for him to
rush to Zimbabwe and turn out to be a dead hero.”
Sibanda said, nonetheless, the diplomatic offensive helped Tsvangirai pick
up valuable support in the region, on the continent and in the West.
Like Zhangazha, he pointed out that Tsvangirai attended the extraordinary
summit of SADC in Lusaka and subsequently visited the individual countries
that made up the bloc.
“Also attitudes within SADC, which have been siding with Mugabe, have
changed. Some SADC leaders are now openly supporting the MDC,” he said.
While in South Africa, Tsvangirai also held discussions with the United
Nations chief Ban Ki-moon and visited traditional allies in Europe,
including Northern Ireland.
Tsvangirai was due to return to Zimbabwe from Northern Ireland after
attending a conference there on May 16. He was, however, allegedly advised
by his security staff that his safety could not be guaranteed after
revelations that the Joint Operations Command, the military junta presently
running the country, wanted him dead to avoid a run-off which analysts say
Mugabe would lose in a free and fair contest.
According to Nelson Chamisa, the MDC spokesman, the death toll of MDC
supporters touched 45 on May 21 following the discovery of the body of
Tonderai Ndira, a well-known MDC activist who was allegedly abducted by
state security agents two weeks ago in the poor suburb of Mabvuku just
outside the capital.
Along with allegedly letting loose his militia to terrorise MDC supporters,
Mugabe has closed all the democratic space for Tsvangirai and his MDC,
including the state media.
Under SADC principles, norms and guidelines relating to the staging of
elections in member countries, all contestants should be given equal access
to the media. This was the case during the first round of voting.
This time, the MDC says ZANU-PF and the government are banning its rallies
and turning down its advertisements in the state media.
Last week, the MDC had to seek redress from the courts after Zimbabwe
Republic Police denied the party permission to hold a rally in Bulawayo.
At the same time, says the opposition, the police are giving ZANU-PF
officials carte blanche to hold political meetings, including their infamous
night vigils or pungwes in the rural areas where villagers are allegedly
being subjected to night-long “political re-orientation” meetings.
“Tsvangirai must now know that the struggle is in Zimbabwe. He can now
afford to send his other executive members to the region and overseas,” said
The true test of Tsvangira’s leadership will be how he will organise his
campaign in the no-go-area communal lands where the majority of voters
reside and also how he will counter ZANU-PF’s propaganda blitz in the
official media, from which the MDC has been blacked out.
When Tsvangirai arrived in Harare, ZANU-PF had been taking full-page adverts
in the official media for weeks and state radio and television were
constantly broadcasting ZANU-PF jingles.
Jabu Soko is the pseudonym of an IWPR-trained journalist in Zimbabwe.
28th May 2008 00:30 GMT
By a Correspondent
Despite concerted efforts by the Zimbabwe Government to muzzle critical
voices, Zimbabwean theatre never runs dry of politically sensitive plays.
A new play, "The two leaders I know" premiered at the recently concluded
Harare International Festival of arts (HIFA). The one-man stage production
acted by talented actor and theatre producer Daves Guzha is both sharply
satirical and a moving personal evaluation of the political consequences of
Ian Smith, the last leader of rebel Rhodesia and Robert Mugabe the current
leader of Zimbabwe currently fighting with all he has to remain the leader
The play explores the wars, riots, sanctions, food shortages, price controls
and life in general under the rule of these two leaders. It captures what
goes on in the mind of the protagonist as he celebrates his birthday alone.
His friends and family can not be with him because they busy in all sorts of
queues. His girlfriend is at the bank and fails to get money so she fails to
make it to the birthday party. The protagonist says rather fittingly
"Dictatorial leaders keep you busy all the time to a point that you can
find neither the time nor the energy to rise up against injustice".
The play co-written by veteran playwright and former permanent secretary in
the Ministry of Education and Culture Dr. Stephen Chifunyise and equally
renowned playwright Raisedon Baya, is directed by Swede Helge Skoog and
produced by the controversial Cont Mhlanga of Bulawayo's Amakhosi theatre.
Another play critical of Mugabe's Governance of Zimbabwe is "The crocodile
of the Zambezi" will premier at the forthcoming Umthwakazi Arts Festival to
be held in the so-called Zimbabwe's culture capital city Bulawayo on 19 May
2008.The play co-written by Raisedon Baya and up-and -coming playwright
Christopher Mlalazi, explores a day in the life of an aging leader of a
troubled fictional country along the Zambezi river beset by personal and
professional problems. On the occasion of his 94th birthday, the aging
leader celebrates by proclaiming a general amnesty for all political
prisoners. Among the released prisoners is his main political enemy, a man
the aging leader has kept in jail for a long time.
As fate would have it, a train is commandeered for the birthday celebrations
of the aging President and it happens that the leader meets his main
political enemy on the commandeered train. An argument ensues between the
bitter political adversaries particularly on such issues as succession,
retirement and the leadership crisis.
"The time is now ripe for this kind of play because we should keep reminding
ourselves and those that lead us that it is unacceptable for us to be
prisoners in our own homes", said Baya. "This project has taken a long time
and courage to create.We started working on the project two years ago but we
tomporarily shelved it because felt the atmosphere was not safe enough for
us to come up with such critical work", he added.
"The two leaders I know" and "The cocodile of the Zambezi" join a long list
of plays critical of President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle who stand
accused of destroying the once vibrant Zimbabwean economy through populist
policies.These critical plays of recent times include the controversial "The
Good President" penned by Cont Mhlanga who is generally credited to have
created the first play critical of Robert Mugabe's Government in the early
Eighties at a time when criticism of the establishment was a taboo. The play
was called "Workshop Negative". Another Bulawayo-based playwright Raisedon
Baya who co-authored "The two leaders I know" has also written plays
critical pof Mugabe such as "Super patriots and morons" and the forthcoming
"The crocodile of the Zambezi".
(MISA/IFEX) - The following is a MISA-Zimbabwe press release:
MISA-Zimbabwe complains to African Humans Rights Body
The communication on Capital Radio, filed jointly by MISA-Zimbabwe, Article
19, and Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa, together with
two proprietors of Capital Radio, Gerry Jackson and Michael Auret Jnr,
challenges various sections of the Broadcasting Services Act as being
inconsistent with the African Charter on Human Rights. Capital Radio, an
aspiring commercial radio station in Zimbabwe was violently shut down by the
Zimbabwe government and had its equipment confiscated by the police in 2000.
The station had begun operating after successfully challenging the broadcast
monopoly of the state owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) in 2000.
In pleading for the speedy conclusion of this matter, MISA-Zimbabwe argued
that the matter is taking too long to be heard. "For the record, we lodged
this communication in August 2005.
The ACHPR agreed to be seized with the matter at its 37th ordinary session
which was held in Dakar, Senegal in November 2005. We filed our
Admissibility Brief in March 2006 and the respondent state made its
submissions in reply in September 2006," submitted MISA-Zimbabwe Legal
Officer Wilbert Mandinde who attended the ACHPR 43rd session in Ezulwini,
MISA Zimbabwe further submitted that at the 40th Ordinary Session, the
Government of Zimbabwe, which is the respondent in the matter, had requested
for an adjournment after it realised that its submissions addressed the
issue of merits and not admissibility.
During the 42nd Session in Congo-Brazzaville, there was a written
undertaking by the respondent state to file the necessary submissions in
terms of the ACHPR rules of procedure.
"We note with concern the fact that to date, the respondent state has
failed, refused or neglected to file these submissions," complained
MISA-Zimbabwe. "We verily believe that justice delayed is justice denied. In
the circumstances, we feel the failure by the respondent state to file
correct papers is an attempt to frustrate proceedings before this
commission. This cannot be condoned."
MISA-Zimbabwe requested the Commission to immediately proceed to declare the
matter admissible during this session. The Zimbabwe government, however,
pleaded with the Commission to be given one last chance to file the
submissions arguing that they had failed to work on the Communication as
they were busy working on the harmonised elections.
Meanwhile the ACHPR has come up with a decision on another matter filed by
MISA-Zimbabwe, the Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe (IJAZ)
and the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR). The decision can however
only be publicised once it has been adopted by the African Union Heads of
In this matter, the applicants had requested the Commission to make a
finding that various provisions of the repressive Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) are inconsistent with Article 9 of the
And in yet another matter, Dzimbabwe Chimbga of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights (ZLHR) complained to the Commission over the failure by the
Zimbabwean government to comply with provisional measures issued by the
Commission to the effect that the government should hand back to the owners
of Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), publishers of the banned Daily
News and Daily News on Sunday, the equipment the police confiscated when
they closed the Daily News in 2003. MORE INFORMATION:
For further information on the banning of the ANZ publications, see:
For further information, contact Kaitira Kandjii, Regional Director,
Rashweat Mukundu, Programme Specialist, or Chilombo Katukula, Media Freedom
Monitoring and Research Officer, MISA, Private Bag 13386 Windhoek, Namibia,
tel: +264 61 232 975, fax: +264 61 248 016, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org,
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Internet:
27 May 2008
Copies of The Zimbabwean on Sunday newspaper set ablaze
Unknown assailants on 23 May 2008 waylaid and set ablaze a truck-load of 60
000 copies of The Zimbabwean on Sunday newspaper and assaulted its driver
Christmas Ramabulana, a South African national and distribution assistant
Ramabulana and Kancheta were stopped 67 km from Zimbabwe’s southern town of
Masvingo and forced to drive along the Chivi-Mandamabwe road for 16 km
before turning into Mandamabwe Road where the truck and its contents were
According to Wilf Mbanga, the publisher of The Zimbabwean on Sunday and its
stablemate The Zimbabwean, the two were severely assaulted before being
dumped in the bush. Mbanga noted that the incident comes hard on the heels
of remarks by Zanu PF Secretary for Administration Emmerson Mnangagwa
blaming The Zimbabwean for Zanu PF’s electoral defeat in the 29 March 2008
elections. He said Ramabulana and Kancheta could not give details of what
transpired as they were in severe shock.
“We condemn this barbaric attack against our staff and the newspaper and vow
to leave no stone unturned until the perpetrators of this atrocity are
brought to book,” he said.
MISA-Zimbabwe condemns in the strongest terms possible this unwarranted
onslaught on the citizens’ right to access alternative information and ideas
through publications such as The Zimbabwean on Sunday.
These acts of lawlessness and disregard for human life continue at a time
when the country is preparing for the 27 June 2008 presidential election
run-off raising mounting fears that the high stakes contest between
President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirayi will not be free
and fair in the wake of the determined efforts to shut out any form of
dissent and opposing views.
This is a serious breach of the 1991 Windhoek Declaration which stresses
that the establishment and maintain an independent, pluralist and free press
is essential to the development and maintenance of democracy in a nation.
The Declaration of which Zimbabwe is a signatory, defines the establishment
of a pluralist media as bringing to an end monopolies of any kind and the
existence of “the greatest possible number of newspapers, magazines and
periodicals reflecting the widest possible range of opinion within the
MISA-Zimbabwe notes with great concern that with the closure of The Daily
News and Daily News on Sunday, The Tribune and Weekly Times under the
repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), the
Zimbabwean government appears even more determined to muzzle opposing views
in its contemptuous disregard of its obligations as espoused under the
Windhoek Declaration and other international conventions and charters that
it has willingly but deceptively ratified.
The responsible authorities should therefore demonstrate their commitment to
dealing with these wanton endemic acts of violence by bringing the
perpetrators to book and ensure the safety and security of journalists
especially those working for the private media ahead of the presidential
election run-off. Anything short of that will only serve to further dent the
country’s worsening human rights record.
For any questions, queries or comments, please contact:
Research and Information Officer
International Herald Tribune
Published: May 27, 2008
Crackpot and dangerous theories on AIDS. Extreme and widening levels of
income inequality. Enabling Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and only belatedly
trying to halt mob atrocities against desperate Zimbabwean and other African
immigrants. This is the legacy of South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, who
has one more year in his second term.
It would be hard to imagine a more depressing contrast with the leadership
of Nelson Mandela, Mbeki's predecessor and one of the 20th century's great
History will laud Mandela for leading his country, peacefully, from hateful
apartheid to democratic majority rule, marvel at his commitment to honesty
and healing and celebrate his promotion of South Africa as a diverse and
tolerant "rainbow nation."
If it remembers Mbeki at all, it will be for appointing a health minister
who favored garlic and beet root as treatment for South Africa's more than 5
million citizens infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and for his
stubborn refusal to use South Africa's economic and political clout to stop
Instead, Mbeki declared that there was "no crisis," even as Zimbabwe's
electoral count was being hijacked, opposition supporters terrorized and
thousands of its citizens fleeing over the border to South Africa where they
still have not found safety. The only explanation is his misplaced loyalty
to Mugabe, who was once a hero for leading Zimbabwe to majority rule.
South Africa is the richest, most developed country south of the Sahara and
the continent's largest, most exemplary democracy. Africa badly needs its
Under Mbeki, the fruits of the nation's hard-fought victory over apartheid
have gone mainly to officials and former officials of the ruling African
National Congress, not to the millions of poor people in the townships who
must live without adequate jobs, education, housing or health services.
The resulting frustration helps explain, though it cannot justify, the
outbreak of xenophobic violence in the shantytowns. At least 42 people have
been killed and some 25,000 have been chased from their homes.
Mbeki's most likely successor, Jacob Zuma, the current leader of the ANC, is
no Nelson Mandela either. While more popular among the poor than Mbeki, he
has offered few coherent ideas for addressing their economic plight. His
ignorance on AIDS and appalling attitudes toward women - revealed in a 2006
rape trial that ended in his acquittal - stained his personal reputation.
Serious corruption charges against him are still pending.
South Africa can ill afford another five years of failed leadership. Whoever
succeeds Mbeki must look long and hard at all that has gone wrong and vow to
do better. South Africans and all of Africa need and deserve better.
18:09 GMT, Thursday, 22 May 2008 19:09 UK
There is still an hour to go, but the passengers have already grabbed their seats and are settling down for the 12-hour ride.
Mingling with the traders who travel this route regularly are Zimbabwean refugees, terrified by the xenophobic violence they have witnessed in the past few days, in settlements in and around Johannesburg.
Anti-foreigner sentiment has led to homes being destroyed, women being raped and people being burnt alive.
Not what you expect in a country preparing to welcome visitors for the 2010 World Cup.
"My South African friends do not want me to go," confides retired schoolmistress Theresa Gwatiringa, who made South Africa her adopted home a year ago.
"But I am afraid, so now I must go," she sighs.
When she first arrived, South Africans welcomed Zimbabweans like her with open arms.
Now foreigners are blamed for stealing jobs and rising crime.
The targeted attacks of the past few days have shaken the confidence of people like Ms Gwatiringa.
It has made the prospect of returning to her modest plot of land not far from Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, attractive - even if it means hardship, soaring inflation and a country in disarray.
It is the same for 24-year-old Maurice who scraped together the money for the bus fare to take him back to Zimbabwe.
"This is not a safe place... they were beating foreigners," he says.
"Even the place where you stay they come and destroy all your property, they smash everything and that's not good."
A half-hour drive away from where the Zimbabweans are beating a hasty retreat, you find Primrose, an eastern suburb of South Africa's commercial capital.
Here thousands of miserable migrants from Mozambique are trying to fend off the Johannesburg chill, huddling around small improvised fires in the dark.
They also want to leave but did not make it on to the 10 coaches laid on by their country's embassy earlier in the day to give them safe passage home.
"I think I am going to be doing this run several times," laments coach driver Jorge Meneles, who at lunchtime had been grappling with a list of Mozambican names which he was trying to match up with the limited seats on his bus.
"I have never seen anything like this before - not in South Africa. It is very sad."
This sprawling bus stop-cum refugee camp outside Primrose police station, is situated in Africa's most prosperous state, not in Somalia or Sudan's Darfur region.
These are people used to living in homes and being warm.
Bicycles, radios and kitchenware scattered next to suitcases hint that these people were not destitute.
They once had good jobs working as gardeners, taxi drivers and farm labourers, but have come to be seen as a threat to citizens of the country that has hosted them.
In the words of so many South Africans who roundly condemn the violence, foreigners do not deserve to be treated in this way.
Even so, the South African government should have seen the resentment coming.
by Martin Pollack
26 May 2008
Since the start of xenophobic violence on Thursday night, about 10000
people have been displaced in Cape Town.
The City of Cape Town, in partnership with welfare agencies, is
providing food, shelter and assistance to 8 700 of the refugees. A further 1300are being sheltered by churches.
The City's first priority is to secure the safety of all people who
have been threatened or displaced. It is indeed a contradictory way to
celebrate Africa Day – 25 May – noted Executive Mayor Helen Zille.
"On the one hand we see marauding gangs sowing a reign of terror, not
only in South Africa against foreign nationals, but in Zimbabwe, by a
government against its own people.
"On the other hand we see many costly advertisements to "celebrate"
Africa day, some of which border on the sentimental, as we recite the tired
old mantras that are usually used when we want to mask our failures.
Ubuntu is one of the world's most important philosophies, but is also
one of the most fundamentally misunderstood, noted Zille. "Most often it is
interpreted with a kind of sloppy and superficial sentimentality, which is
actually a perversion of the real concept.
"Ubuntu is NOT a feeling. It is a commitment to do the hard work
required and make the sacrifices necessary to ensure the growth and
development of other people.
"It involves a commitment to the truth, it involves the capacity to
take responsibility, it involves exceptional discipline and good judgement,"
And so it happened that on this Africa Day, instead of all South
Africans working together for the growth and development of other people,
the City's Disaster Management Centre could be found working to build Safety
Sites for displaced people and refugees.
At the Safety Sites, displaced people can receive basic accommodation
and support, with law enforcement officers present to ensure that they are
The temporary Safety Sites also provide:
a.. Safety and security
b.. Temporary accommodation in marquee tents
c.. Three meals a day
f.. Health services
g.. Toilets and washing facilities
h.. Drinking water
j.. The presence of officials from the Department of Home Affairs to
assist in tracking or replacing lost documents
The City of Cape Town is committed to providing safe havens for all
affected people during this crisis, and to facilitate their safe return to
their communities as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
On Africa Day, Executive Mayor Helen Zille thanked the many
Capetonians who volunteered to assist with this crisis, either with their
time or with donations.
She also paid tribute to Minister of Defence, Mosouia Lekota, "who was
the only national Minister who actively assisted the relief efforts in Cape
Town. He responded quickly and efficiently when we called on him to open
Youngsfield military base when we needed it for relief efforts," she said.
Afrique en ligne
In commemoration of the African Liberation Day, obser ved here Monday,
Liberian civil society groups have urged Africans, their leaders and gov
ernments, as well as the international community to resort to peaceful
actions in resolving the current political crisis in the East African
In a communiqué issued at the end of the one-day celebration, aptly dubbed
Zimbabwe Day and themed "Stand Up for Zimbabwe, Now!", the groups called for
an "immediate end to the continuing violence in Zimbabwe" involving the
ruling ZANU-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Force and all
others with direct stake in the political process in that country.
The groups called for the "ultimate respect for the decisions of the people
of Zimbabwe during the upcoming presidential run-off election that must be
held in observance of all known democratic norms".
The communiqué said the Monrovia session during which several speakers
analysed the crisis in Zimbabwe, was a follow-up to meetings held by African
civil society organisations in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Abuja, Nigeria,
in the past few weeks.
It urged African leaders to work towards the lifting of economic sanctions,
and helping to donate basic food and other supplies to the people of
The document prevailed on Liberian authorities to "immediately engage with
colle agues from ECOWAS and the African Union (AU) to enhance mediation
efforts in Zim b abwe, regardless of which side wins the run-off poll later
It emphasised on the need for a future collaboration between the opposition
and ruling parties to ensure a lasting peace in Zimbabwe.
Monrovia - 27/05/2008
May 27 2008 at 10:56AM
The Chinese government has insisted again that the Chinese arms that
were being shipped to Zimbabwe have not been unloaded and are being returned
The Chinese embassy in Pretoria on Monday issued a statement quoting
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Qin Gang as saying that recent news
reports that the Chinese cargo ship An Yue Jiang had unloaded its arms cargo
in Africa were "utterly groundless".
According to the embassy, a journalist asked Qin in Beijing to comment
on SA media reports that "China's cargo ship An Yue Jiang had arrived in
Zimbabwe (sic) and that the Zimbabwe government had confirmed receiving the
Qin replied: "As we have said on many occasions, relevant military
goods will be shipped back by An Yue Jiang which is now on its way home.
Relevant report is utterly groundless."
He appeared to be referring to SA press reports quoting a Zimbabwe
government spokesman as saying the Chinese arms had been delivered to
The movement of the ship and its cargo of arms has been shrouded in
mystery and controversy for several weeks ever since it was prevented from
delivering the arms in Durban by a union refusal to unload the cargo, and a
Later reports suggested that the ship had sailed round the Cape to
unload the arms in Angola or the Republic of Congo. - Mercury Foreign Editor
This article was originally published on page 4 of The Mercury on May