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Mugabe must be held accountable for atrocities

Zim Online

Saturday 22 September 2007

By Prof Arthur Mutambara

HARARE - The fallen heroes of our great liberation struggle produced a
historic result in the form of our political independence in 1980.  There is
a generational expectation for us to enhance their legacy.

We have to continue with their struggle for a peaceful, democratic and
prosperous Zimbabwe. The question is what is our generational result? What
has been achieved in the last 27 years? Our country is going through an
unprecedented national crisis with both economic and political

Our generational challenge is now to restore the economy and the moral
fabric of our nation. At the root of our national crisis are three
inter-related challenges: political illegitimacy, poor country governance,
and the lack of both economic vision and strategy.

In addressing these problems we have to ask ourselves what kind of political
party would effectively embrace and enhance the legacy of Josiah Tongogara
and Nikita Mangena? There are three questions that we have to ask.

  a.. Firstly, who are we as a party, what do we stand for, what should we
be known for, i.e., what is our brand as a political party.
  b.. Secondly, what is it that the people of Zimbabwe want that we can
provide better than other political parties, i.e., what is our unique value
proposition to Zimbabweans?
  c.. The third question speaks to our proposed path and strategy to power,
i.e., what is the game plan toward the attainment of political power.
The Brand

We are an African opposition party rooted in the history of Zimbabwean
nationalism and the liberation struggle. We represent and seek to address
African aspirations within a Pan-Africanist framework. This entails a
socio-politico-economic world-view, as well as a movement, which seeks to
unify and uplift both Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora, as part
of a global African community.

The redemptive paradigm is regional integration inspired by regional
sovereignty leading to continent-wide unity of both politics and economics.
While embracing and leveraging globalization, we stand opposed to any forms
of imperialism. We condemn Western double standards, duplicity and

For example, while we appreciate Western pronouncements on the democratic
deficit in Zimbabwe we condemn the democratic exemption they extend to
Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. There is need for consistency if the West
is to be effective in its support for democratic and progressive movements.

We note that when we in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa were fighting
for our freedom we received no arms of war from Britain and the USA. Why did
they not provide weapons to the FRELIMO, ZIPRA and ZANLA, MK and APLA
freedom fighters and yet they found it appropriate to arm and support Mobutu
Seseko, Jonas Savimbi, Saddam Hussein (in his war against Iran) and Osama
Bin Laden (in his skirmishes with the Soviets in Afghanistan)? This begs the
question what really informs Western foreign policy? It seems permanent
interests outweigh both permanent values and principles. We stand viciously
opposed to these double standards.

In Zimbabwe we believe there was a case to redress the grave historical
injustices in the distribution of land. One of the reasons for the
liberation war was access to land by the African majority. Hence there was a
clear case for a land revolution in Zimbabwe. The fact that at Lancaster
House the terms of reference, processes and funding (including UK and US
assistance) for agrarian reform were verbal and not written means that this
fundamental issue was not taken seriously.

 The British and their US colleagues acted in bad faith. Of course as the
Africans at Lancaster we take responsibility for our foolishness and
dereliction of duty. We should never have accepted a verbal understanding on
land. While we take issue with Mugabe's motivation behind the chaotic land
grab, and disagree with his processes and perverted outcomes, we do not seek
to go back to the pre-2000 February situation. However there must be a land
audit, rationalization and fairness to all Zimbabweans in the allocation of

As regards the question of compensation for farmers whose land or properties
were expropriated, we believe that the international community must
contribute funds for this purpose, in particular the UK and USA. There will
be no such money from the Zimbabwean fiscus.

Our agrarian revolution will be based on enhancing land access by the poor,
productivity, food security, self-sufficiency, fairness and collateral value
of land. We seek to ensure fair, secure and effective use of land with new
strategies that will make the land green again. What is required is a
democratic and participatory framework that seeks to achieve equitable,
transparent, just, and economically efficient distribution and use of land.

Respect of property rights and collateral value of land must be guaranteed
by establishing security of tenure through the provision of title or
meaningful 99 year leases (not the ZANU(PF) worthless leases). Land should
never be used as an instrument of political patronage. With an effective
land revolution in Zimbabwe land owners should be motivated towards
beneficiation where emphasis is placed on secondary agriculture.

On human rights violations in our country such as gukurahundi and
murambatsvina we believe in victim based and restorative justice. It is
important to involve the victims, understand what they went through, and
evaluate their current challenges created by the violations. It is also
important that we hear from them how they believe justice can be achieved
and restored.

There is need for rehabilitation of the violated communities, surviving
individuals and families. If we allow Ian Smith and Robert Mugabe to get
away without even acknowledging, showing remorse and accounting for their
crimes, what will stop future regimes from doing the same.

Consequently, there will be no blanket immunity. We need to break the cycle
of impunity. We need to know the truth of what transpired, and establish
some modicum of responsibility even if it is moral responsibility. We need
to establish a systemic and institutional framework that enables us to
ensure that never ever again should there be any such violation of human

The Unique Value Proposition

What is it that the people of Zimbabwe want that we can provide better than
other political parties? Our vision is Zimbabwe as the leading democracy in
Africa characterized by people-centered social development and economic
growth. We desire a nation characterized by inclusive and sustainable
development that is based on substantive participatory democracy. Zimbabwe's
GDP and per capita income should be in the top three in Africa.

We want a society where human rights, individual freedoms, property rights,
non racialism, women's rights, workers' rights and economic rights are
cherished and respected. We want a nation of prosperity, economic
opportunities, affordable high quality public services, social justice,
equity, and gender justice. We want a country of business growth, productive
commercial agriculture, innovative entrepreneurship, creative managers, and
productive workers whose working conditions are decent.

We seek a Zimbabwean economy that leverages science and technology, while
emphasizing valued added manufacturing, export based investment and a
thriving services industry. We desire technology transfer, local processing
of all our minerals, and increased domestic and foreign direct investment.

All these endeavors must be established within the context of a small
government philosophy, respect for free market principles, respect of
property rights and entrenched rule of law. Nonetheless, there is need for
targeted state intervention to develop enabling physical infrastructure
(such as roads, water, electricity, housing, and telecommunications) and
promote economic socio-economic justice. It is essential to have an
independent central bank which concentrates on core monetary policy
functions of maintaining both price and financial market stability. This
should then be coupled by effective macro-economic policy coordination
between fiscal and monetary strategies.

Beyond economic recovery and stabilization there is need for transformation
of the Zimbabwean dualistic economy inherited from the colonial period and
deepened during the post independence economic melt down. In the colonial
period the dualism divide was synonymous with race as whites had more access
to resources than the blacks. It is therefore imperative that the economy
should be transformed into an integrated globally competitive economy in
both its production and service sectors. In all these efforts there must be
deliberate efforts to promote broad based economic empowerment of the black

The Zimbabwean economy has the potential to be transformed from the present
dualistic and largely agrarian economy into a modern industrial economy.
There is need to maximally optimize our potential in terms of human capital,
natural resources and infrastructure.

The Path to Power

The strategy to victory has to be through democratic and constitutional
means. This is only possible if we all fight together to create conditions
for free and fair elections in our country. The primary drivers of change
should be Zimbabweans themselves. This means in addition to embracing the
SADC initiative we must develop an independent programme of action on the
ground that we control as Zimbabweans.

Here we refer to a programme of action that seeks to bring about democratic
change in our country, as a precondition for the economic transformation of
Zimbabwe. In particular through actions of defiance, strikes, demonstrations
and general mass action we must drive this illegal kleptocracy to its knees.
We must create conditions for free and fair elections by any means
necessary. All the political parties, civic society organisations, the
labour movement and the churches must work together in the streets in
pursuit of liberation and emancipation.

We must be demanding that the Zanu PF government stops the torture, murder
and the incarceration of members of the opposition and civic society. Just
recently, members of the NCA were brutalized. We cannot have free and fair
elections when members of the civic society are being brutalised. We also
need a new constitution and we must fight for it in the streets. There must
be new electoral laws that will allow free and fair management of our
elections. POSA and AIPPA must be removed from our statutes.

We want to allow every Zimbabwean the opportunity to vote, including those
in the Diaspora. Lastly, we want international supervision of our first
election under the new constitution. These are the demands we should be
fighting for in the streets through an alternative programme of action. Yes,
we should also pursue the same matters through the SADC mediation. What is
criminal is for Zimbabweans to sit passively while waiting for President
Mbeki to rescue them.

It is our strong contention that it will be easier to dislodge the
illegitimate regime in Zimbabwe if all democratic forces in the country work
together. This is even more critical, given the fact that our elections are
likely to be unfree and unfair.  In spite of the challenges the opposition
parties are experiencing in establishment a united front, they will continue
to work as one entity, presenting common positions in the SADC mediation.


What we stand for and what we offer should be a continuation of our great
liberation struggle. However we must understand that the aims of the
liberation struggle and its heroes who gave their lives for the emancipation
of our great land have been subverted by those who claim to be the current
living heroes but who in reality have stolen the hopes and aspirations of
millions of Zimbabweans since 1980.

This group of heroes turned villains has lost any semblance of the redeeming
values of shame and self-respect. The real heroes of our generation will be
those who will restore Zimbabwe as nation in which we can all be proud; a
country which can hold its head high amongst all the nations of the world, a
state which meets the dreams of its people. We must have the moral and
physical courage to step up to the plate and make our generational
contribution. History will never absolve us if we prevaricate or equivocate.

Arthur Mutambara

Prof. Arthur G.O. Mutambara heads one of two formations that make up the
Zimbabwe opposition party, the MDC.

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Tsvangirai hopes for more concessions from Mugabe

Zim Online

Saturday 22 September 2007

By Farisai Gonye

HARARE - Zimbabwe main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Friday told
top officials of his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party that he was
optimistic negotiations with President Robert Mugabe's government could
ensure free and fair elections next year.

Party spokesman Nelson Chamisa said Tsvangirai, who now leads the larger
faction of the MDC after the party split 2005, said he believed the
opposition could still milk more concessions from the ruling ZANU-PF party
to ensure democratic elections next year.

The MDC, which though split into two rival camps has acted together in
dealings with Mugabe and ZANU PF, on Tuesday endorsed a controversial
government constitutional Bill saying the move was in the greater interests
of resolving Zimbabwe's worsening political and economic crisis.

"President Tsvangirai took the opportunity to explain the decision to go
along with the Constitutional Amendment No. 18 as a first step towards the
final resolution of the national crisis," read Chamisa's statement.

Chamisa said Tsvangirai told his party that the second round of negotiations
with ZANU PF would now tackle outstanding issues such as political violence,
harsh security, media and electoral laws, the use of food aid by ZANU-PF as
a political weapon, the politicization of security forces, and the
contentious issue of allowing millions of exiled Zimbabweans to vote.

Tsvangirai called the emergency meeting with his national executive to
explain the decision to back the constitution Bill that clips some of Mugabe's
powers but leaves him room to anoint a successor.

The MDC's largest civic society allies have rejected the government
constitutional Bill and accused the opposition party of treachery and
cutting deals in Parliament with the government in total disregard of
ordinary citizens who they said wanted a transparent and people-driven
constitutional reform process.

The Bill will see constituency boundaries changed, parliamentary elections
brought forward by two years while Parliament -- which Mugabe controls -
will be empowered to elect a new president should the incumbent fail to
serve a full term.

Analysts see the clause empowering Parliament to elect a new president as an
exit mechanism allowing Mugabe, 83, to quit active politics, handpick a
successor and possibly rule from the sidelines.

The MDC had pushed for an entirely new constitution that would guarantee
basic freedoms and free elections but relented after Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa agreed to changes that watered down the amendment Bill.

The changes included abolishing the president's power to appoint members to
the lower house of parliament, which will have 210 members compared to the
current 150, and a further expansion of the upper house to 93 members from
84, with five appointees. - ZimOnline

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Civic groups say Mbeki mediation flawed

Zim Online

Saturday 22 September 2007

By Sebastian Nyamhangambiri

HARARE - Zimbabwe's National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) political
pressure group says South Africa's mediation between President Robert Mugabe
and the opposition is flawed because it excluded civic society.

NCA chairman Lovenmore Madhuku said South Africa's Safety Minister Sydney
Mufamadi this week told Zimbabwean civic groups that regional leaders did
not mandate Pretoria to incorporate their concerns in ongoing talks between
Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party and the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party.

"The response was that SADC (Southern African Development Community) had not
mandated President (Thabo) Mbeki to include civic society," said Madhuku,
who led a delegation of civic society leaders that on Tuesday met Mufamadi
in Pretoria.

"He said our concerns will be forwarded to SADC heads of state at a later
stage telling us that our concerns were similar to those the MDC had
 raised," said Madhuku.

Mufamadi was not immediately available for comment on the matter.

Mbeki was last March asked by SADC heads of state and government to lead
efforts to resolve Zimbabwe's eight-year political and economic crisis by
facilitating dialogue between ZANU PF and the MDC.

Civic society groups have long said agreement between Zimbabwe's two largest
political parties alone would not end the country's multi-faceted political
and economic crisis urging Mbeki to rope in organised civic society, smaller
opposition parties and other stakeholders in the talks.

Dialogue between MDC and ZANU PF appeared to bear some results when the two
parties agreed in Parliament this week to pass a controversial
Constitutional Amendment Bill No. 18 that will clip some of Mugabe's
sweeping powers but paves the way for him to anoint a successor.

The NCA, a coalition of churches, women's groups, opposition parties,
students and workers, has rejected the Bill and accused the MDC of
abandoning its civic society allies to cut deals in Parliament with the
government in total disregard of ordinary citizens who it said wanted a
transparent and people-driven constitutional reform process.

The MDC has defended its decision to back the government constitutional
reform Bill as necessary to help create conditions conducive to the peaceful
resolution of the country's crisis.

The NCA, which together with the MDC mobilised voters to reject a government
constitutional draft in a 2000 referendum, has vowed to mount resistance
against government constitutional reforms. - ZimOnline

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UN Chief Ban Moots Special Envoy To Zimbabwe; Harare Objects


      By Sandra Nyaira and Carole Gombakomba
      21 September 2007

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said he will take up the
crisis in Zimbabwe with President Robert Mugabe next week at the U.N.
General Assembly and seek support to dispatch a U.N. special envoy to the
troubled country.

Ban said in an interview with Britain's ITV News that next week's U.N.
gathering offers an opportunity for him to sit down with President Mugabe to
convey the concerns and frustrations of world leaders about the political
and economic crisis..

Ban said it was sad that the situation in Zimbabwe continues to deteriorate
and that he found it disheartening that condemnation of government policies
by the international community did not translate into action on the ground
to help the Zimbabwean people or to end the political deadlock and
increasingly dramatic economic collapse.

Correspondent Sandra Nyaira of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported from

A Zimbabwean diplomat said Ban had no mandate to intervene in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe's ambassador to the U.N., Boniface Chidyausiku, said the Secretary
General has no brief to use the General Assembly to "rally international
leaders," as Chidyausiku put it, "towards pushing for a special envoy to

Sources said Mr. Mugabe wrote to Ban to request a meeting during the

But Chidyausiku told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that the meeting was a mere formality, adding that if Ban wants to
discuss sending an envoy to Zimbabwe he should take it up directly with Mr.

National  Coordinator Jacob Mafume of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition also
voiced skepticism on the point of the U.N. special envoy, but for a
different reason - he noted that the recommendations of two previous envoys
have not been implemented.

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IFJ Demands Safety Guarantees for Zimbabwe Journalists after Media Hit List Leaked from Government

International Federation of Journalists


      The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the
government of Zimbabwe to guarantee the safety of 15 journalists named on a
hit list that appeared to have been leaked from official sources.

      "The government of President Robert Mugabe must make it clear to the
international community that it is not targeting journalists," said IFJ
General Secretary Aidan White. "It can do that by guaranteeing the safety of
all the journalists named and all other journalists in Zimbabwe."

      The IFJ was shocked to learn of what appears to be a list of
journalists who are accused of working with "hostile anti-Zimbabwean western
[sic] governments" and to see that it included the name of Foster Dongozi,
Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists and member of the IFJ
Executive Committee.

      The IFJ has taken steps to assure his safety but it is calling on
Zimbabwe's government to guarantee that Dongozi, his family and the others
on the list will not come to any harm.

      The leaked document appears to date from June this year and is
headlined "2008 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections." A list of 15
names then follows under the heading "Targeted Journalists".

      Below the names is a short note:

      "The following media personnel and others as discussed in the previous
meeting are to be placed under strict surveillance and taken in on the
various dates set. They're working hand in hand with hostile anti-Zimbabwean
western [sic] governments. Measures to be taken against the above including
those in exile, are listed on page 4 summary."

      Top of the list is Abel Mutsakani who survived an assassination
attempt when he was shot in South Africa on July 23. Mutsakani was an editor
at the Zimbabwe daily newspaper The Daily News until it was banned in 2003.
He moved to South Africa in 2004, so that he could report freely on
Zimbabwe, and launched ZimOnline.

      Also named is Gift Phiri, a correspondent of the Zimbabwean newspaper,
who in early April was abducted by police and severely beaten in the
capital, Harare. In August, Phiri was acquitted of charges of contravening
the repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

      Another journalist named is Bill Saidi - deputy editor of the
privately-owned newspaper The Standard - who in January received a brown
envelope containing a bullet and a threatening message warning him to "watch

      All the journalists listed work for private media and do independent
investigative reporting.

      "In the run up to the Presidential and Parliamentary elections
expected in 2008, independent journalism will be key to ensuring that the
voting process is fair and democratic," White said. "We will be watching
Zimbabwe closely to ensure that our journalist colleagues are able to do
their jobs freely and safely."

      For more information contact the IFJ at             + 221 842 01 43
      The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries worldwide

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Experts Debate Zimbabwe Opposition Strategy On Constitutional Amendment


      By Ndimyake Mwakalyelye
      21 September 2007

The decision by Zimbabwe's opposition to cooperate with the ruling party in
passing a constitutional amendment bill in the lower house of the Harare
parliament this week is dividing public opinion that was previously was
strongly opposed to the measure.

Critics including Chairman Lovemore Madhuku of the National Constitutional
Assembly have accused the Movement for Democratic Change of committing a
"betrayal," while others see the compromise bill hammered out under the
cover of South African-mediated negotiations as a step forward towards
ending the crisis.

One sticking point for many is the lack of clarity on how expanding both
houses of parliament will enhance the democratic process or ensure that the
March 2008 presidential and general elections will be free and fair.

Some say the MDC should renegotiate the deal or call for an entirely new
constitution that could promote more democratic government and the rule of

VOA sought opinions on the legislation, the political process and the
Movement for Democratic Change's strategy from two experts: Executive
Director David Chimhini of the Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust and Advocacy
Officer Busani Ncube of the Bulawayo Agenda.

Ncube told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
the  outcome in parliament was a disappointment, so his group has called a
stakeholders conference in Bulawayo next week to draw out public opinion on
the matter.

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Zimbabwe who will fire the first shot?

This week has been of particular frustration to all Zimbabweans where ever
they are and what ever they are doing. To many people, the images of the
past week do not come as a surprise but the graphical illustration of the
mayhem is astonishing. Seeing, is believing! While the World is agape that
civilised people in this 21st century can stoop so low as to be subdued by
one man, Robert Gabriel Catholic Mugabe, few do understand the scale of
Zimbabwean problem. If the World new, they would not have placed Iraq ahead
of Zimbabwe because during Sadam Hussein, at least food  and sanity was
available to the Iraqis. Mugabe is a moving grave surrounded by blood thirst
vipers fed on blood and corrupt money. In case you forget, China, Russia and
Iran remain his closest alias.  In the absent of Africa backing, where would
one seek pad for a democratic regime change. By forsaking Zimbabweans,
Africa is colluding with Mugabe in the hope that if they become dictators in
the making African brotherhood will prevail.

I have written many articles on Zimbabwe crisis, all hardcore militant as to
motivate people to take a collective and perpetual civil defiance even if it
means an armed struggle. Only writing is not enough but I put my head on the
block contesting with Border Gezi the architecture of Green Bombers, Elliot
Manyika the brutal Mugabe intelligencia. Many Zimbabweans today do not know
that the Green Bomber were initially setup specifically for me. By the way I
have a constituency to represent, I have a grave right at my door step
having lost my brother, a father with a permanent injury due to a murderous
ZANU(PF) and a business empire ransacked to feed Green Bombers under Mugabe's
instruction. God answered our prayers and Border Gezi did not leave to enjoy
the fruits of his brutality albeit Mugabe did.

In October 2000, Adela Chiminya and I sued Robert Mugabe on gross violation
of human rights, albeit even the USA presidency (George Bush) did not
support us, actually the state department appealed on behalf of Mugabe, what
ever the reason, I don't what to know, but USA employs double standards and
I am very much convinced that USA is behind the collusion with Mugabe.
Mugabe would not have survived even for a year if he has fallen with USA and
Europe; I stand to be corrected here.

So 2008 we are going for dual Presidential and parliamentary elections? DID
I get it collect that the opposition agreed with ZANU (PF) to;

1.      Increase the parliamentary seats from  120 to 210

2.      Accessible advertisement for all parties

3.      President will now be able to appoint a successor

4.      Bla-a-a-a-ar

If this is true, then MDC has lost sanity. Even before commenting on the
above, let me hasten to say as a postgraduate of Civil Conflict Resolution,
I was appalled by the speed at which we opposition agreed to everything ZANU
(PF). Zimbabwe has one of the most educated people in Africa, and a mare
consultation would have put the struggle on track. This is attar rubbish!
Who does not know that the over 4 million people who left Zimbabwe were from
urban areas and who are opposition supporters. The delimitation commission
by Tobaiwa Mudede will simply put the majority of the 90 seats in rural
areas, everybody know that. By agreeing to Mugabe forfeiting the 30 seats he
appoints and give him leeway to appoint further 90 indirectly is lunatic to
say the least. We have always protested that the civil servant is bloated
and needs trimming, we cant even find money to pay the current 120 MPs
adequately, where are we going to get the money to pay late alone 210, this
is rubbish! I remain defiant that Robert Mugabe must go and MDC has no
business to nurse him in his transition to hell, ngatisaputsa chirongo
tasvika veduwe! In 2002 we were allowed to advertise but mind you the
decision for the content still remained with Mugabe and he never publish
anything because he did not agree with it, what  makes us think that this
will be different this time. The agreement is silent on POSA, AIPPA, Green
Bombers and the Political Funding ACT. These sections mean more to the
current fear than meets the eye. If you remove them then you have democracy
in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabweans all over the World are fighting this struggle, I hope the
opposition realise this. This is not a lone struggle and consultation is
important.  We must fight Mugabe on sea, on air, on land and cyberspace;
remember he will be turning 84, where on earth, for God's sake an 84 year
old has ruled a country with sanity. Mugabe needs to be confronted with all
fire power the World can produce.  The opposition by agreeing to
constitutional changes no. 18, risk perpetuating a Mugabe dynasty. What will
stop Mugabe from passing power to Grace Mugabe (the brutal wife) or to his
10 year old son in the name of constitution? You don't need a degree to
understand that!

I am in favour of not only removing Mugabe but the uprooting of everything
ZANU (PF) ndipo panonyaya ipapo. Change is in the air but it can only come
from Zimbabweans and not Thambo Mbeki. I am proud to be a Zimbabwean and I
will die for that cause.

Yours Sincerely

Elliot Pfebve

Lecturer, Politician & Human Rights activist.

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Why the NCA-MDC Stand-off Healthy for Democracy

Silence Chihuri

The current stand-off between the MDC and the NCA is an extremely welcome
development. It will also put the NCA into perspective and remind the civic
leaders that they are not politicians after all. In fact we have seen a kind
of cosseting between the MDC and the NCA that had embedded the two
organisations in a manner that is retrogressive to democracy.

The NCA has come to be known as a champion of human rights and democracy in
Zimbabwe through the courageous if not dangerously heroic acts of the likes
of Lovemore Madhuku. Ever since the NCA was incepted in 1997 it has
conducted itself in a manner that has never faulted it in the eyes of the
nation. This is why the NCA has become something of a stand-in opposition
party because there are times when it has actually shown more teeth than the

The only time the NCA came under unusual scrutiny in the eyes of the
Zimbabwean public was in 2006 when the current Chairman Lovemore Madhuku was
re-elected to another term in circumstances that were viewed by Zimbabweans
as uncharacteristic of a champion of democracy. But Madhuku got off the hook
courtesy of his record because he is an individual who epitomises courage
and defiance in the marauding dictator that is ZANU PF. Because of Madhuku
and the likes of Douglas Mwonzora who have taken great personal risk to
champion democratic rights in Zimbabwe, the NCA today is a formidable force
that has taken the fight against human rights violation a step further than
where the CCJP left in the mid to late 1990's.

Every Zimbabwean today except those who are living off the scandal that is
ZANU PF rule will stand up to salute the NCA for it s efforts in the fight
for human rights. This is why the NCA has enjoyed as much platform as the
opposition political parties in Zimbabwe because they are there together in
the trenches. Internationally the NCA is also highly regarded as a vehicle
for the fight against ZANU PF tyranny. The part that the NCA has played for
all these years is an integral one to the restoration of fully functional
democracy in Zimbabwe.

In recent times however, there has been this kind of warming up to each
other between the MDC and the NCA in a way that would rather concern than
assure many Zimbabweans. The NCA was almost becoming an appendage or
off-shoot of the MDC. Some people have viewed this strategic positioning by
the NCA leadership as a way of lying in waiting to feed on the political
crumbs that would fall off an MDC high table once the party came into power.
This was starting to hamper the impartiality and direction of the NCA which
was visibly becoming an extension of the MDC. This recent stand-off would be
one to be wished to last forever because it will prompt the NCA to sit back
and think about its real role.

The MDC is to blame for the NCA's quasi political status anyway, because the
deficiencies in the party had rather propelled the NCA to that de facto
political status. Maybe this is time for both organisations to be completely
independent of each other and start to work in the interests of Zimbabwe
rather than individuals who were simply seeking to ensconce themselves. The
NCA should also be reminded that it is merely a civic body that should
completely stay out of politics and any attempt by the organisation and its
leadership to enmesh themselves in matters political would simply undermine
their integrity. If any of the leaders of the NCA want to be involved in
fully fledged politics, then they should resign from the civic body and join
the MDC.

Alternatively, they should register the NCA as political and field
parliamentary candidates who will then be able to debate political matters
in the parliament and enter into political deals with other parties. The NCA
should also be clearly reminded that the MDC is not in any manner or form
answerable to the civic body and that whatever decisions the party takes, it
does so at its own peril. The NCA should actually seize the moment and go
that step further and show Zimbabweans that they can be trusted more than
the MDC. Also, it is not that the MDC has taken an extremely bad decision as
such, but it is only that a few individuals at the helm of the NCA feel left
out by the political bandwagon are now crying foul.

Political pacts are never supposed to be between political parties and the
civic society, period. The MDC and ZANU PF have entered into a political
pact and one that is very necessary especially at this moment and only the
self-serving and grand-standing antics of those at the helm of the NCA would
seek to undermine the painstaking process of normalising the situation in
Zimbabwe. This is the same NCA leadership that scurried down south to
protest to President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa that they felt being left
out in the political dialogue between the MDC and ZANU PF. This propensity
for crying foul whenever the NCA is left out of the political process shows
very worrying signs of loss of direction in the organisation. If the NCA now
wants political status they should simply be regularised as such.

Yes the NCA should continue to organise demonstrations against the ongoing
mal-governance of ZANU PF and should even demonstrate against any bad
decisions by the MDC as the main opposition party in Zimbabwe. This is
because the NCA as a civic organisation must champion the causes of the
Zimbabwean people in a manner that is not done by the political parties.
That is the difference between politics and civic agitation. There should
never be any overlapping or co-habiting between political parties and civic
bodies.  Directing any anger towards the MDC could actually be viewed as a
feeling of bad workmanship.

Silence Chihuri is a Zimbabwean who writes from Scotland. He can be
contacted on

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Family of slain Bulawayo man to file $30bn lawsuit against police

Zim Online

Saturday 22 September 2007

By Lizwe Sebatha

BULAWAYO - The family of a Bulawayo man who was shot and killed by the
police while drinking beer at a shebeen says it is suing the police for Z$30
billion in damages.

Misheck Gumbo, 31, was shot and killed in the working class suburb of Pumula
by a yet to be identified police officer at the unlicensed drinking place.

Gumbo was buried last Wednesday at Luveve Cemetery at an emotionally charged
funeral with relatives complaining that the police had refused to offer any
assistance to meet the burial costs.

Noel Dube, a close relative of the late Gumbo, was also badly assaulted by
the police who had stormed the illegal drinking place in the suburb after he
had asked the police why they were drawing a pistol in front of revelers.

Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Mandlenkosi Moyo defended the
shooting accusing the late Gumbo of resisting lawful arrest.

Moyo said the police officer who shot the deceased was "trying to defend
himself as he was being overpowered." The police spokesperson said the
police were still carrying out investigations into the matter.

A family spokesperson, Moment Gumbo told ZimOnline yesterday that they were
suing the police over the fatal shooting.

"We have agreed as a family to sue the police for more than $30 billion in
damages. The police have refused to accept responsibility over the death of
Misheck," said Gumbo.

Gumbo's fatal shooting by the police is the second such incident this year
following the killing of another Bulawayo resident, Artwell Magagada.

Magagada was shot by the police while celebrating the coming of the new year
on New Year's eve. The Magagada family has already filed a Z$20 bilion
lawsuit against Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi and Police Commissioner
Augustine Chihuri.

Zimbabwe's police have often been accused of committing serious human rights
violations against civilians. Harassment and torture of government opponents
and civilians is common in Zimbabwe. - ZimOnline

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