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Keeping Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe in check

By Editorial Board, Published: April 7

ZIMBABWE, which for more than 30 years has suffered under the arbitrary and
autocratic rule of Robert Mugabe, may have a chance to free itself through a
democratic vote. On March 16 more than 3 million of the country’s voters
turned out to approve a new constitution, opening the way — years later than
promised — for a new presidential election. The vote, which could take place
this summer, will probably pit the 89-year-old Mr. Mugabe against his
longtime rival Morgan Tsvangirai, who likely would win a free and fair

That’s where the likely trouble starts. Mr. Tsvangirai’s victory in the
first round of the last presidential election, in 2008, prompted an orgy of
violence by the Mugabe regime, which assaulted villages that supported the
opposition and arrested and tortured many of its leaders. Some 200 people
were killed; Mr. Tsvangirai refused to participate in a runoff election and
Mr. Mugabe claimed a new mandate. Only the opposition leader’s subsequent
agreement to join the government as prime minister stopped a catastrophic
economic meltdown.

With the U.S. dollar as its currency, the Zimbabwean economy is now growing
fast, thanks in part to heavy government spending backed by loans from
China. The new constitution, though flawed in some important respects,
contains guarantees of human rights. But there are signs that the regime is
returning to the same tactics that kept Mr. Mugabe in power four years ago.
The day after the constitutional referendum three senior members of Mr.
Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change were arrested, along with a
leading human rights lawyer who later was released on bail.

That followed a series of raids against civic groups and grass-roots
activists, like the Zimbabwe Peace Project, which investigates human rights
cases. According to a report by the BBC, police in rural areas have begun
confiscating radios capable of receiving foreign broadcasts — presumably so
that there will be no competition for the state broadcaster during the
upcoming campaign.

The only way to stop Mr. Mugabe and the thugs around him from manipulating
the coming election is aggressive intervention by outsiders. That starts
with Zimbabwe’s neighbors in the Southern African Development Community,
which permitted the regime to get away with the outrages of 2008; South
Africa and other governments must stand up against the incipient abuses
before it is too late.

Western governments also have an important role to play. Following the
constitutional referendum, the European Union suspended sanctions against
Zimbabwean companies and most regime figures other than Mr. Mugabe and a
handful of cronies; that was premature. The Obama administration has more
wisely held off, with a State Department spokesman suggesting that “what we
need is to see this serve as a precedent for upcoming presidential
elections.” Unless and until Zimbabweans are given a fair and free chance to
choose between Mr. Mugabe and his challengers, U.S. sanctions should remain
in place.

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Referendum rigged – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 6th April 2013

Vigil founder member Ephraim Tapa, who has just returned from an undercover fact-finding visit to Zimbabwe, says he believes the result of the referendum on a new constitution was rigged. Ephraim, a former leader of the Civil Service Employees Union, has not been home since he was given political asylum in the UK after being tortured and fleeing Zimbabwe in 2002. 


He said: ‘A day before the referendum I got to talk to a young man in his mid-twenties in Mwenezi, Masvingo. He told me that he and the wider community had never seen the draft constitution let alone read it and that they had been ordered to vote ‘Yes’ by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. Apart from ZEC they had seen no one else. He said he would not be voting for something he was not sure of. These sentiments were echoed by almost everyone I spoke to’. 


He went on: ‘I was able to visit a number of polling stations on the day of the referendum. Short queues formed in the mid-morning and by the afternoon hardly any were left. In the following days I was able to ask several households how many people had voted in the referendum and results indicated widespread apathy. They stated that they couldn’t vote for something that they were not privy to. Prior to the vote, parts of civil society that campaigned for the ‘NO’ vote had been deliberately targeted for arbitrary arrest and harassment by police’.


Ephraim said ZEC’s report of an unprecedented high voter turnout was now being disputed by both civil society and the MDC-T and its cooking of the figures was an indicator of things to come. Ephraim, one of the founders of the MDC, said he was asked to meet several groups of prospective MDC parliamentary candidates. They were doubtful of the MDC winning the elections although they did not expect violence on the same scale as 2008. But people were being intimidated and reminded all the time of the 2008 violence as a warning of what could happen again.


He said people felt betrayed by the former progressive voices, including MDC T, who had acquiesced in human rights abuses and lack of reform. They had lost hope and now didn’t talk about politics at all, just bread and butter issues. ‘They don’t want to go through 2008 again’.


The Vigil is alarmed by the alacrity with which the outside world has welcomed the bogus referendum figures. The United States, for instance, has congratulated Zimbabwe for holding a ‘successful’ referendum – in the face of a damning report on ‘systematic’ political oppression in Zimbabwe by the Robert Kennedy Centre (see: RFK Center: Zimbabwe Electoral Conditions Severely Compromised –


After the Vigil, people gathered for the bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum at which we discussed Ephraim’s report ( It was agreed to urge the MDC not to join a new government of national looting. If it insisted on doing so a new political party should be formed to provide real opposition. Ephraim was unfortunately unable to attend the meeting because of the launch in Leeds of a new branch of ROHR of which he is President.  But he will be answering questions at our next ZAF meeting on 20th April.


Other points

·         Anyone who doubts Zanu PF’s intentions should look at the BBC’s Hard Talk interview with Chinamasa during his recent visit to London – what an ugly face to present to the outside world:

·         The need for political change in Zimbabwe was stressed by Vigil regular Louisa Musaerenge who drew our attention to a piece in the Zimbabwean ( – Why I will vote for MDC).

·         Once again the Vigil has linked up family members. Management team member Fungayi Mabhunu got talking to Rosemary Maponga and they discovered that his uncle was married to her aunt in Rusape.


For latest Vigil pictures check: Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website.


FOR THE RECORD: signed the register.



·         Official Launch of Betty Makoni story: Never again, not to any woman or girl again. Saturday 13th April from 5 pm – 12 midnight. Venue: Thurrock Hotel, Ship Lane, Purfleet, Essex RM19 1YN. For more information check:, email:, or phone: 07427 774 415 / 07951 522 790.

·         Round 16 of the Free Zimbabwe Global Campaign (FZGC). Saturday 20th April when we will also mark Zimbabwe’s Independence Day.

·         Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 20th April from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. ROHR President Ephraim Tapa, recently back from Southern Africa, will talk to us about his trip. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It's next to a newsagent. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

·         Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2012 can be viewed on this link:  Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2012 Highlights page.

·         The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.

·         Vigil Facebook page:

·         Vigil Myspace page:

·         Useful websites: which reports on Zanu PF abuses and where people can report corruption in Zimbabwe.


Vigil co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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Zanu PF hardens on security sector reforms

April 7, 2013 in Local, News, Politics

HOPES of instituting security sector reforms before the forthcoming
elections are fast evaporating as Zanu PF continues with its stranglehold on
the military, analysts have warned.

Report by Patrice Makova

The Global Political Agreement (GPA) was expected to address the issue of
security forces dabbling in politics, but this has not happened over four
years after the formation of the inclusive government.

The security forces are often accused of harassing and torturing perceived
Zanu PF opponents.

Securocrats are also on record that they will not salute anyone without
liberation credentials, particularly Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, even
if he won Presidential elections.

In 2008, the MDC-T accused the military of spearheading a bloody campaign
for the re-election of President Robert Mugabe.

The then opposition party claimed over 200 of its supporters died at the
hands of the military and militias linked to Zanu PF prompting increased
calls for security sector reforms.

According to experts, security sector reforms are aimed at providing
effective state and human security through democratic governance, respect
for the rule of law and human rights.

But Zanu PF continues to insist that the issue of security sector reform was
out of question.

Last week Defence minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa said political parties
pushing for such reforms wanted to weaken the security services in order to
effect an “illegal regime change.”

Mugabe has also repeatedly defended the military.

The MDC-T said the recent clampdown by the police on human rights defenders,
lawyers, journalists and some of its members is an indication that the
security sector in Zimbabwe is operating in a partisan manner in total
disregard of the GPA principles.

Political analyst, Jabusile Shumba said it was no longer possible to
institute security sector reforms before the elections expected in June or
July as more time was needed to implement them.

He said what was now only conceivable is to force security forces to act in
accordance with the laws such as prohibiting them from active participation
in politics.

“They can exercise their democratic right to vote but are not permitted to
actively support any political party,” said Shumba. “However,
notwithstanding the legal and constitutional provisions for civilian
control, Zimbabwe’s senior military officers are on record for their active
support of Zanu PF and terrorising political opponents to sustain the party’s
claims to power and protect their ill-gotten wealth.”

Shumba said Mugabe, as Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander-in-Chief, wielded
effective control over the military.

“Arguments that border on that the military is ‘untouchable’ are nonsense
and cannot be tolerated in a democracy,” he said.

Political Scientist, Shakespeare Hamauswa said reforms being called for
would only be possible if another party other than Zanu PF assumed power.

He said as far as Zanu PF was concerned, security sector reform has been
going on since 1980, hence the current calls were misplaced.

“It is difficult to cut the umbilical code between Zanu PF and the security
sector,” said Hamauswa. “A reform marked by the removal and replacement of
JOC (Joint Implementation Committee) is not possible. But from a gradualist
point of view security sector reform is going on albeit slowly.”

However, Hamauswa said the fact that under the draft constitution,
Parliament will extend its oversight role to the security sectir was a
foundation for the reform.

He said if the new constitution was going to be adhered to, the security
sector would eventually be reformed.

Hamauswa said the MDCs should in the meantime show their capacity to
negotiate for more reforms while at the same time extent an olive branch to
the military.
“They do not need to threaten those who are in the security sector as it
seems that they are the gate keepers of the corridors of power,” he said.

A University of Zimbabwe Centre for Defence Studies lecturer said the issue
of security sector reforms was about power politics.

He said Zanu PF, which was the powerful side of the GNU, was not interested
in reforms, taking advantage of Sadc’s “quiet diplomacy.”

Another political analyst, Clever Bere was also sceptical that there would
be security sector reforms in the near future.

He said given the history of the inclusive government and in particular the
implementation of the reform agenda, there was a high unlikelihood that such
reforms would take place.

“Zanu PF and Mugabe’s power is deeply rooted in the military and security
apparatus,” he said. “I do not see them giving in to demands for these
reforms. If we have failed to realise such reforms in the four years, it
will be folly for one to believe we will have them in the remaining three or
so months of the life of the inclusive government.”

He said Zanu PF would not negotiate its way out of power, by agreeing to
more democratic reforms in the country.

“Ceding to security sector reforms will in a big way weaken the party’s hold
on power,” said Bere.

University of Zimbabwe constitutional law expert, Professor Greg Lennington
said the purpose of the army was purely for the defence of the country.

He said if implemented, the draft constitution would make the security
sector more human rights sensitive.

Constitutional Select Committee (Copac) co-chairperson, Douglas Mwonzora
said the issue on national security services was adequately dealt with in
the draft charter which was recently approved in a referendum.

He said under Chapter 11, all national security services including the army,
police and intelligence were no longer allowed to be partisan, campaign or
de-campaign any other political party.

Mwonzora who is also the MDC-T spokesperson said under the new constitution
members of the security forces would be obliged to obey and respect the
fundamental human rights and freedoms of the people.

“If the new Constitution comes into force and such provisions are enforced,
then the MDC will be happy,” he said.

Mwonzora said under the new constitution which will be debated in Parliament
next month, serving security officers actively campaigning for seats in the
next elections should resign from the force.

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MPs threaten Mugabe ahead of polls

April 7, 2013 in Politics

ZANU PF MPs have complained that their party has sidelined them for the past
four years warning that this could prove costly to President Robert Mugabe,
come elections.

Report by Patrice Makova

In separate interviews, several MPs said there were fears that the
forthcoming elections could see another “bhora musango” (ball off course), a
term used to describe individual party officials who campaign for themselves
while de-campaigning Mugabe.

This strategy, widely used in the 2008 elections, saw Mugabe losing
Presidential elections to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai even in several
constituencies won by Zanu PF candidates.

“Our grievances are that these ‘Madhara’ [old guard] are the only ones ‘vari
kudya’ [benefiting] from major deals be it in mining, agriculture,
procurement and indigenisation in general,” said one long-serving
backbencher.  “It is the very same few people who are benefiting from any
other deal which is struck.”

The Zanu PF legislator said MPs have repeatedly questioned several major
deals including those to do with mining and the Chisumbanje ethanol project
because they felt sidelined.

“They are busy allocating themselves lots of farms and mines, while ignoring
us. That is why we are not happy,” said the legislator.

He said the MPs were disheartened to learn that cabinet ministers from both
Zanu PF and the MDCs would get a golden handshake at the expiry of the GNU
in the coming months.

Another MP said a number of his colleagues had formed consortiums with the
aim to enter into different ventures including mining of diamonds, gold and
other minerals, but had either been blocked or turned down.

“Most MPs who are going to win party primary elections are unlikely to
campaign vigorously for Mugabe because they are frustrated,” he said. “This
is why they have been resisting attempts to dissolve parliament early. It
also explains why some Zanu PF MPs voted for MDC-T Lovemore Moyo as Speaker
of Parliament instead of our national chairman Simon Khaya-Moyo.”

Another MP said Zanu PF should not take comfort on the fact that the MDC-T
might have lost some of its support base as shown by most opinion surveys.

“If the MDC-T has lost 300 000 supporters this does not mean that these have
joined Zanu PF,” she said. “The party has to work hard to get some of these
people.  My hope is that the party will not impose candidates otherwise it
will be another bhora musango.”

However, some MPs defended Mugabe saying it would be chaotic if Mugabe was
to attempt to communicate with every “tom and dick.”

“Whenever I have issues which I want to bring to the attention of the
President, I write to him directly either through his chief secretary or the
party structures,” said another legislator.

Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo also said the MP’s had no right to demand
direct access to Mugabe.

“What access do they want when there are cabinet ministers who they can
approach with their specific issues?” he asked.

Gumbo said MPs should also instead approach Zanu PF secretary for
administration, Didymus Mutasa who also doubles as Mugabe’s special affairs
ministers for issues they want to bring to the attention of their 89-year

Zanu PF parliamentary chief whip, Joram Gumbo could not be reached for

Mugabe does not give us audience: MP

One of the disgruntled legislators said the MPs were not happy that Mugabe
was not directly interfacing with them.

He said if one was not a cabinet minister, or either a politburo or central
committee member, there was no other avenues they could directly communicate
with Mugabe.

“Our feeling is that Mugabe is not paying attention to us MPs as he is only
interested in the politburo and the central committee.  They are forgetting
that we are not appointees, but directly elected by the people,” said the

The MPs said their last serious caucus was last year where they were given a
“lecture” by vice-President Joice Mujuru.

“They do not want to listen to us, as to them we are not that important.
They only use us when it is time to endorse certain issues,” said the

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Knives out for Mutasa in Manicaland

April 7, 2013 in Politics

KNIVES are out for Zanu PF secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa with
information emerging that some senior officials from Manicaland province
want to petition President Robert Mugabe to fire him.

Report by Patrice Makova

Sources told The Standard yesterday that a storm is already brewing in Zanu
PF, after information was leaked that several senior officials allegedly
held a secret meeting in Mutare on Friday night to discuss the ouster of
Mutasa, accusing him of destroying the party in Manicaland.

As jostling for both the control of Manicaland and succession of Mugabe
intensified ahead of forthcoming elections, a senior Zanu PF official said
Mutasa was being accused of causing divisions through alleged imposition of
candidates and dictatorial practices.

“They were saying Zanu PF is now dead in Manicaland because of Mutasa,” said
the official. A petition is now being drafted to be presented to Mugabe so
that he is toppled as secretary for administration and replaced by another
politburo member from here.”

Another official said Mutasa was also being blamed for Zanu PF’s loss in
Manicaland in the 2008 elections.

He was also being accused of instigating the recent investigation of
provincial chairman Mike Madiro on allegations of defrauding diamond mining
companies and his subsequent suspension.

Madiro is expected to appear in court tomorrow over the allegations.

“The idea of the meeting was to convince Mugabe that Zanu PF will lose
dismally in the forthcoming elections if Mutasa is not put on a leash,” said
another official. “However, our worry is that the meeting was held in secret
and our understanding is that it was chaired by a member currently on

The official likened the meeting to the so-called Tsholotsho Declaration of
2004, where several top Zanu PF officials were accused of plotting a de
facto coup against Mugabe.

Mugabe last year admitted that factionalism cost Zanu PF 20 of the 26 seats
in Manicaland which went to the MDC-T.

Mutasa is the most senior Zanu PF official in Manicaland and is sometimes
touted as a potential candidate for the vice-president’s post, left vacant
after the recent death of John Nkomo.

Currently he is the fourth most senior Zanu PF official after Mugabe,
Vice-President Joice Mujuru and party national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo.

According to the sources, the meeting was allegedly held at Zanu PF’s women’s
league boss Oppah Muchinguri’s upmarket Murambi home.

Other senior officials who allegedly attended the meeting include Justice
minister Patrick Chinamasa, deputy Minister of Energy, Hubert Nyanhongo,
Madiro, acting chairperson Dorothy Mabika, Buhera North legislator and
businessman William Mutomba and war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba.

Most of the officials who met were said to be sympathetic to the Zanu PF
faction loyal to Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. The faction is
battling with another loyal to Mujuru in the battle to succeed 89-year-old

Mutomba confirmed the meeting indeed took place.

The Buhera MP said he had told the meeting that the issue [petition] should
not be made public before Mutasa was given a chance to respond to the
allegations and defend himself.

“I do not want to back bite people, but my view was that the issue should go
to the leadership before being published in the press so that those being
talked about can present their position,” said Mutomba.

Madiro yesterday professed ignorance of the meeting. “I don’t know anything
about a meeting. In politics people can say anything, but as far as I am
concerned I do not know anything [about the supposed meeting],” he said.

Nyanhongo refused to speak to The Standard saying he was attending a
memorial service out of Harare.
Chinamasa’s and Chinotimba’s phones were not available.

Mutasa said he had heard from several people that such a meeting took place,
but had not paid much attention to the reports.

“They are welcome [to petition Mugabe] if that is what they want,” he said.
“But it’s just a handful of people. I do not think it’s the view of the

He said allegations being levelled against him were personal views of a few
individuals which could be best answered by those accusing him.

Mutasa said he was also surprised that politburo members could have agreed
to be chaired by a suspended member.

Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo said reports that such a meeting took
place were disturbing.

“I have no idea and knowledge about the meeting,” he said. “But if it has
indeed taken place, then I am surprised that people are not following party
procedures. I don’t know what’s going on there. By Monday I will have gotten
to the bottom of the problem.”

Zanu PF goes to the elections deeply divided with members of the Mujuru and
Mnangagwa faction positioning themselves to succeed 89-year-old Mugabe.

Both Mujuru and Mnangagwa have denied leading factions in the party. But
Mugabe last year confirmed the existence of the factions, warning this
threatened to destabilise the party.

No meeting took place—Muchinguri

Oppah Muchinguri yesterday professed ignorance of the meeting.  “Right now I
am at my farm in Nyazura and I am not aware of any meeting that took place,”
she said.
Muchinguri said as a seasoned politician she knew the proper channels to
resolve internal party problems, including involving Moyo as the national

“I am mature after fighting in the liberation struggle,” she said. “These
people telling you such things do not know the real issues. We are dealing
with people who are power hungry and I am afraid that the enemy may have
infiltrated us.”

Muchinguri said she had nothing against Mutasa and respected the entire
party leadership.

She said whenever there were problems in Manicaland these were addressed
through the provincial coordinating committee meetings where party officials
were free to democratically say whatever they wanted.

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‘Nothing wrong with election ruling’

April 7, 2013 in Local, News

CONSTITUTIONAL lawyer, Lovemore Madhuku has dismissed concerns that a High
Court Judge may have erred when he granted an extension of the March 29
deadline for by-elections.

Report by Our Staff

The concern were raised by some lawyers after last week’s High Court ruling
by Justice George Chiweshe, excusing President Robert Mugabe from complying
with a Supreme Court ruling on by-elections, which some lawyers described as

Madhuku, who chairs the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), said the
question of whether the High Court could set aside a Supreme Court ruling
should have been asked last year, when Mugabe initially approached the
courts seeking a variation.

“The High Court clearly has jurisdiction, it has what we call inherent
jurisdiction, in computer terms we can call it the default court,” he
explained, adding that the problem was that most lawyers had a “superficial
view of themselves”.

Madhuku said if anyone did not know which court to approach, they approached
the High Court and therefore, it had jurisdiction in all cases.

Lawyer Matshobane Ncube said since the Supreme Court was the highest court,
all its rulings were binding and could not be set aside by a lower court.
“Only the Supreme Court can revisit its decision, this is uncharacteristic
and it’s a precedent,” said Ncube.

“I have my doubts about its legality. How can the High Court revisit a
Supreme Court ruling?”

Ncube said the three former legislators who wanted by-elections could still
approach the Supreme Court to have a re-instatement of the previous order.

The Supreme Court last year ordered Mugabe to set a date for by-elections in
three Matabeleland provinces, but the President sought to be excused from
complying with the ruling, which Chiweshe granted.

Mugabe was initially supposed to set a date for by-elections last August but
approached the High Court seeking a variation of the order on the basis that
he would proclaim a date for general elections by March 31, this year.

Mugabe then approached the High Court again arguing that elections would be
held by June 29, so he should be excused from executing the order.

Abednico Bhebhe, Njabuliso Mguni and Norman Mpofu won a Supreme Court order
to compel Mugabe to proclaim a date for by- elections.

The trio were expelled from the MDC then led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur
Mutambara for going to bed with the MDC-T.

Madhuku said what was further puzzling was that the three MPs that wanted
by-elections had all joined Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party
and since the premier said he wanted elections in September, there was no
point in continuing their fight for by-elections in their constituencies.

“What is the purpose of a by-election before the expiration of parliament?

“What is needed is a political decision on when elections will be held,” he

“The Prime Minister does not want elections before September, he should
prevail on his members to drop the election challenge, it is not sensible.

“What would have happened had Mugabe not gone to court? We cannot have a
by-election now.”

Justice Chiweshe’s court case is likely to have legal experts picking their
brains for some time to come.

Section 26 of the Supreme Court Act states that “There shall be no appeal
from any judgment or order of the Supreme Court” and that is the argument
the former legislators were basing their argument on.

The lawyers argued that this was “litigation in perpetua”, meaning Mugabe
continuously resorted to it each time he was due to make an order.

One of the lawyers representing the legislators, Tawanda Zhuwarara said he
was waiting for the full court ruling, due tomorrow before deciding the next
course of action.

He said they would speak with the three legislators, with an idea of
pursuing the matter further.

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All not rosy for Zim women cross border traders

April 7, 2013 in Local, News

IT’S just after sunset and temperatures are fast dropping to almost freezing
point at Park Station in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Report by Musa Dube recently in South Africa

The chilly weather is making everyone numb.

But Sandra Phiri from Bulawayo’s Entumbane suburb will have to endure two
nights sleeping at the open bustling station.

She would be in South Africa for two days to buy goods for re-sale back in
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city.

The 39-year-old Phiri is a cross border trader, who occasionally leaves the
comfort of her six-roomed and fully-furnished house, to endure the hardships
of sleeping in an open space in a desperate bid to make a living.

Phiri is one of hundreds of Zimbabweans, the majority of them women, who
have temporarily converted the Park Station into their “mini-bedrooms”.

The mother of three says she has lost count how many times she has slept at
the busy station as she cannot afford a decent accommodation in
Johannesburg, the commercial hub of South Africa.

She decided to venture into cross border trade after losing her formal job
in 2008. Since then, she has been travelling to countries in the Sadc region
buying goods for resale back home.

“I used to work for a textile company in Bulawayo and I got retrenched when
the company faced viability challenges,” she said.

“I sleep here at the Park Station almost four times a month. I have no money
to book in a lodge or hotel let alone have somewhere else to put up for the

In countries such as Mozambique or Zambia, Phiri said, she secures temporary
lodgings under squalid conditions in a bid try to minimise accommodation

At times, she buys her goods in Musina town at the border with Zimbabwe.

When The Standard crew arrived at the Musina Border post one night recently,
scores of women and men were like abandoned bags of maize, fast asleep on
the pavements as they waited for the next day for shops to open.

Marvelous Tshuma, another cross border trader from Gweru, said besides the
accommodation challenges, they faced a plethora of problems such as ill
treatment by authorities.

“I am in this business not by choice but due to circumstances,” said Tshuma.
“The working conditions are not good at all. The problems start from
obtaining a passport document itself where we have to endure several months
before one gets it.”

The former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe clerk said most cross border traders
were abused in the hands of authorities while in foreign lands.

“We are harassed while in other countries especially in South African by its
customs and police officials who are very hostile and have negative attitude
towards us, she said.

“We are subjected to humiliating body searches in the hands of South African
police and this lowers our dignity as human beings.”

Some of the traders complained about what they termed “excessive customs
duty charges” which they said were pushing them out of business.

“We face unwarranted impounding of goods and we are often misconstrued as
smugglers and drug traffickers,” said one cross border trader, who only
identified herself as Thandiwe.

Some of the traders import their goods from countries such as Malawi,
Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Namibia Dubai, Malaysia, and China.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says cross-border trade
was a high-risk venture involving corruption, sexual abuse and other forms
of human rights violations.

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‘Zanu PF adopts psychological strategy’

April 7, 2013 in Local

ZANU PF is not going to use overt violence at the next election but will
embark on a sophisticated and multi-pronged approach to cloak its terror
tactics, a report by Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition says.

Report by Nqaba Matshazi

Desperate to win the endorsement of Sadc and the African Union (AU), the
report says Zimbabwe will not witness violence up to the scale of the 2008
Presidential run-off.

“While I agree that state sponsored violence is endemic in Zimbabwe, I argue
that Zanu PF is embarking on a more sophisticated and multi-pronged approach
to cover its terror tactics in order to regain political legitimacy,” an
excerpt of the report, to be released on Wednesday, reads.

In the past Zanu PF has been accused of employing violent tactics to win
elections, but the latest study indicates that there could be a change of
tactics from the party.

The study, entitled “Pre-Election Detectors: ZANU PF’s attempt to re-claim
political hegemony” argues that the next election will not see as much
violence as that of June 2008, as Zanu PF does not want to alienate Sadc and
the AU, whom it depends on for legitimacy.

“Zanu PF is aware that naked physical violence will not be accepted in Sadc
and yet at the same time a relatively free and fair election might undermine
its electoral chances,” the report continues.

“Pitted between a rock and a hard place, what strategies can Zanu PF use in
the next harmonised election?”

Most of Zimbabwe’s elections since independence have been marked by
violence, particularly the 1985 general election and 2008 presidential

But the latest report says Zanu PF will likely move away from a violent
election and adopt a psychological strategy, where the ghost of past
violence would be reawakened thereby intimidating voters, without
necessarily resorting to aggression.

“The party prefers a psychological warfare premised on manipulating the fear
inculcated in communities over years among other strategies,” the report
says. “These include partisan registration of voters, ideologically
appealing to popular groups, state financed patronage, control of state
media and targeted persecution — devoid of physical harm — against civil
society leaders and opposition supporters.”

Despite incidents of violence, Zanu PF has been at the forefront of an
unlikely campaign for peace in the next poll.

Youth militia and security forces are often accused of instigating political
violence to intimidate the electorate into voting the party into power.

The study carried out by Phillani Zamchiya from Crisis in Zimbabwe
Coalition, Innocent Kasiyano from the Election Resource Centre and  Admire
Mutize from the Zimbabwe Peace Project, says only time will tell whether
these strategies will work.

Crisis Coalition director, McDonald Lewanika said the report seeks to trace
the methods that Zanu PF used for elections, while also suggesting evidence
based interventions.

“The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition has over the course of the last decade,
carried out a tradition of releasing pre-election reports, to aid the
political understanding in the country ahead of key electoral processes,” he
said, adding that it was the first in a series of four reports.

“The report is both a useful resource from an information perspective but
also a warning and suggestion on how to deal with some challenges that are
imminent with regards to political culture and the conduct of electoral
business in our country.

“We believe that there is no better time than the present to make this input
and hope that we can pre-empt some of the evil machinations that can impede
a transition to democracy, while encouraging Zimbabweans and those with  a
stake in our elections from the region to take action while there is still

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Mliswa takes swipe at indigenisation policy

April 7, 2013 in Local, News

THE Zimbabwe Economic Empowerment Council (ZEEC) has called on the Minister
of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Saviour Kasukuwere to
use a broad-based approach in implementing the policy and ensure that many
Zimbabweans get empowered.

Report by Our Staff

Speaking at the council’s national executive committee meeting in Harare
last week, ZEEC president Themba Mliswa said the policy was not clear and
failed to include distinct social groups such as war veterans, students and
the disabled among others.
“We don’t have to apply a copy and paste method in implementing the policy,”
he said.

“The people in the country must benefit from the policy not just

Mliswa said the community share trust concept was good but needed to be
refined to incorporate other people who live within that community.

Mliswa also took a swipe at the Chinese, who have made inroads in many
sectors of Zimbabwe’s economy, saying they should not be exempted from
complying with the indigenisation policy.

“They [Chinese] have literally come here and taken over our tobacco sector
through contract farming among other methods,” he said.

“They plant, reap, cure, grade, process and buy the tobacco. How then does
the economy grow?”

The Chinese, he said, were obliged to comply with the indigenisation policy
so that indigenous people can be directly empowered.
Mliswa said Chinese have virtually taken over the country’s economy and

“There should be no sacred cows,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s indigenisation policy, which compels foreign owned companies to
transfer 51% of their ownership into the hands of locals has been criticised
over the manner in which it is implemented.

Critics argue that the manner in which it is being implemented is tantamount
to extortion and lacks legality in the absolute sense.

Kasukuwere and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono are
locked in a battle over indigenisation policy.

Gono has publicly clashed with Kasukuwere who wants to force foreign-owned
banks, Barclays and Standard Chartered and South African-based Stanbic to
comply with the country’s indigenisation laws.

The RBZ chief has described the Kasukuwere spearheaded programme as
unworkable and its implementation as being “in a shambles” because of
structural flaws.
But Kasukuwere has insisted that the policy was the best method for
empowering locals.

ZEEC last year also called for the review of indigenisation plans tabled by
two foreign-owned companies — BAT Zimbabwe and Unki mine — arguing that key
stakeholders had been left out.

The move by the group, reflects on the hurdles faced to economically empower
locals in accordance with the contentious Indigenisation and Empowerment
Mliswa, said that in the BAT transaction, tobacco farmers had were left out.
He said the group was to meet Kasukuwere, to register its concerns.

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ZEC yet to pay for referendum work

April 7, 2013 in Local

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is yet to pay for the vehicles it
hired for the referendum, drawing the ire of drivers who feel shortchanged,
it has emerged.

Report by Our Staff

The referendum was held on March 16 this year.

The commission had reportedly promised to pay immediately after the
referendum, but three weeks later the owners of vehicles say they have not
received a cent.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, some vehicle owners and drivers said
they had failed to get a satisfactory answer from the elections body on why
they had not been paid.

“Our contracts indicated that we had been hired from March 13 to 19 and we
thought we would be paid after that,” one of the vehicle owners said. “We
have tried to contact ZEC and CMED (Central Mechanical Engineering
Department) but we have met no joy.”

He said what heightened their anxiety was that there was nothing explicitly
written in their contracts regarding when they will be paid.

The driver, who is based in Gweru, said ZEC had hired 150 cars from the
Midlands capital and none of the drivers had been paid.

“ZEC did not give us advances just in case our cars broke down, so we had to
borrow and now we are struggling to pay back the money as there is no
communication,” he said.

“Considering the state of our roads, breakdowns and tyre punctures are
prevalent and we had to take care of those ourselves.”

Through CMED, ZEC hired cars for the referendum and was to pay between US$60
and US$170 per day depending on the size of the vehicle. The cars were to
travel a maximum of 200 kilometres, with ZEC paying between US$0,40 and
US$0,80 per kilometre in excess of 200km.

However ZEC spokesman, Shupikai Mashereni said the commission started
payments last week and all service providers will receive their dues soon.

“Payments began this [last] week and where there are delays it is an issue
of banks,” he said. “Some banks take longer to process payments than others
and maybe that could be the reason.”

Mashereni said he was not aware of any certain group of service providers
that had been singled out for late payment.

He then asked for questions in writing. Investigations also revealed that
civil servants that worked on the referendum had since started receiving
their payments.

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Palliative care project launched

April 7, 2013 in Community News

BIRCHENOUGH BRIDGE — A local non-governmental organisation (NGO), Batsiranai
has begun a palliative care programme for abused children in Buhera

Last week the organisation started a two week long training programme for
caregivers at Mudawose rural clinic to kick-start the project.

About 30 caregivers drawn from Buhera district were trained.

The project is meant to help children who are mentally and physically
challenged and those that have been psychologically abused.

Palliative care is specialised medical care for people with serious
illnesses. It focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms,
pain, and stress of a serious illness.

The aim is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.

Speaking at the official launch of the programme last week, Batsiranai
director, Francis Tembo bemoaned what he termed “a culture of silence” in
the face of rampant abuse of children in the district.

“Village and community leaders have a duty to protect children from abuse.

Unfortunately, there is a culture of silence in this district, which has
worsened child abuse,” Tembo said.

He warned villagers against harbouring perpetrators of child abuse saying
doing so was a serious offence.

“Harbouring perpetrators of child abuse is a serious offence,” he said.
“Such cases must not be swept under the carpet, but reported to the police.
Children are the most vulnerable group in our communities therefore it’s our
duty to protect them.”

Ward 23 coordinator for Batsiranai, Robert Mutume condemned some traditional
healers for fuelling child abuse by misleading their clients.

“We are grateful that this programme has been launched here. We are now
fully empowered to start an active crusade against child abuse and neglect,”
Mutume said.

He challenged caregivers to participate actively to curb rampant child abuse
in the district.

“We know this is a new programme, but we should work together for the
benefit of our community,” he said.

What is palliative care?
The term “palliative care” is increasingly used with regard to diseases
other than cancer such as chronic, progressive pulmonary disorders, renal
disease, chronic heart failure, HIV and Aids, and progressive neurological
In addition, the rapidly growing field of pediatric palliative care has
clearly shown the need for services geared specifically for children with
serious illnesses.

Palliative care:

l provides relief from pain, shortness of breath, nausea, and other
distressing symptoms;
l affirms life and regards dying as a normal process;
l intends neither to hasten nor to postpone death;
l integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care;
l offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible.

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Youthful farmers proud of the golden leaf

April 7, 2013 in Community News

Dereck Chimusoro of Makanda village under chief Goneso in Hwedza is another
tobacco farmer who has not looked back since he started growing the crop
four years back.

Unlike his fellow black farmers who grabbed properties and infrastructure
from white commercial farmers, Chimusoro started from zero.

He built his own tobacco barns, grading shades and bailing machines.

“When I started growing the crop four years back, I used my kitchen to cure
the crop,” he said. “Now l have managed to build five barns and a grading

Aleck Mudyandarima (34) of Madhanda area in Magunje also said tobacco
production had largely transformed his life.

“Before I started growing tobacco, I had nothing, completely nothing, I used
to depend on others, but now I have managed to buy my own cattle, six goats
and I am also able to pay my four workers,” said Mudyandarima. “Next season,
if all goes well, I want to buy a tractor.”

Brian Kapfumvutiro (30), who was a potato farmer in Headlands until in 2009,
said he ventured into tobacco farming after noticing that the golden leaf
was changing the fortunes of his neighbours.

“This is my fourth season since I started growing tobacco. I have managed to
buy all my farming implements such as a tractor, plough and water bowsers.
The wealth that I have accumulated so far, outweighs what I gathered for a
number of years with other crops,” Kapfumvutiro said.

Despite many challenges compounded by climate change, high cost of inputs
and at times poor prices, tobacco has remarkably boosted the country’s
It is one of the country’s major foreign currency earners.

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Tobacco farming transforms rural life

April 7, 2013 in Community News

WHEN he got seven ungraded results at O’level three years ago, Ray Saureyi
thought it was the end of his once promising life.


But now he has realised that, though important, education is not the only
way out of poverty.

Saureyi of Manduzuma farm in Karoi, decided to venture into tobacco farming
because he had no other survival alternative.

“I completed my O’levels three years back and I got seven ‘U’s. My father
wanted me to repeat but I was not interested,” said Saureyi. “Two of my
classmates passed with flying colours, yet we were taught by the same
teachers and we used to read and have discussions together, yet I failed.”

The 22-year-old man does not regret taking up tobacco farming as it has
transformed his life for the better.

“In 2010, I started growing tobacco and I managed to buy a Mazda B22 which I
used to transport fertiliser for other farmers,” said Saureyi. “Last year, I
managed to buy a residential stand in Karoi and this lorry, an Isuzu Elf.”

Unlike other new farmers, who do not keep business records, Saureyi keeps
track of all business transactions to enable him to see if he is making a
profit or loss.

This year, Saureyi planted 2 hectares of tobacco — which on average — would
give him 6 000 kg.

Every other two or three days, Saureyi transports 20 bales of tobacco to the
auction floors using the truck he bought from tobacco proceeds.

He charges US$15 per bale from Karoi to Harare.

Tobacco production has also enabled Saureyi to venture into other projects
like poultry rearing.

Over the Easter holidays, the youthful farmer sold 300 birds and he could
not even meet the demand in his area.
Each bird was going for US$6.

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Villagers lose cattle to maize dealers

April 7, 2013 in Community News

WEDZA — Severe hunger is forcing desperate villagers in Wedza to exchange
their livestock for maize to enable them to feed their families.


Most of the villagers from Zviyambe area have been experiencing acute hunger
for the past few years, because of poor rains and intense temperatures that
are common in the district.

In the past few months, cattle dealers have regularly been seen exchanging
bags of maize for beasts in Mutiweshiri, Chikurumadziva, Makarara and
Mangoro villages.
Usually, a beast is exchanged for 20 bags of maize.

In Harare, a bucket of maize costs about US$7, which means dealers are
buying each beast for about US$240.

The villagers said cattle dealers collect the livestock once every two
months and sell it to abattoirs in Harare and Marondera.

Zviyambe South ward councillor, Godfrey Chitsaka said he was aware that the
villagers were being short-changed by the cattle dealers.

“I am quite aware that people are being deceived at some points, but there
is nothing that they can do, this is how they are going to survive,” he
said. “For the past few years, maize dealers have been operating like that.”

Villagers, who spoke to StandardCommunity said they had to use whatever
means to get maize to counter the looming hunger.

“There is no maize in this area because of low rainfall. There are people
who are coming here with maize which we exchange with cattle,” said one of
the villagers, Tsitsi Chitambo “They are helpful indeed as people can get
maize to last for a long time.”

Another villager, Joshua Mangwiro echoed the same sentiments.

“People who are bringing maize here are doing a great job because without
them we will die of hunger,” he said. “There is no maize here and it is a

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Ethanol plant displaces super dad

April 7, 2013 in Community News

CHIPINGE — A Chipinge man is now failing to provide for his 21 wives and 76
children after he lost his farming land to make way for the construction of
the Chisumbanje Ethanol Plant.


Mashava Muchatiroto’s world collapsed on him when Green Fuel took over the
land which he used to till and sell the produce to sustain his huge family.

“I used to farm on that land and was able take care of my family but when
Green Fuel came, they took it and it is becoming difficult for me to feed my
family,” said Muchatiroto.

The 56-year-old father of 76 said more than 20 of his children have since
dropped out of school because he could not afford their fees.

The super dad said he had in the past year sold more than 35 of his 50
cattle to raise money for his children’s school fees.

“Forty of them [children] were going to school, but now I can’t afford it
because I have sold most of my cattle to sustain my family,” he said.

The children were attending school at nearby Chinyamukwakwa primary and
secondary schools.

Muchatiroto claimed that some of his property was attached by the companies
which used to advance him farming inputs and equipment after failing to
service his debt.

One of the children could not hide his frustrations over the land seizure
recently when Standardcommunity visited the area.

“Sometimes, we only eat once a day because there are many of us and now that
our father’s piece of land was taken, it is going to be worse,” said the
youthful Jayson.

Platform for Youth Development (PYD) leader, Claris Madhuku, whose
organisation represents the interests of the displaced villagers, said there
was need for the Green Fuel to assist the affected people.

“Look, some of these villagers who had their pieces of land taken are now
suffering,” said Madhuku. “They are struggling to make ends meet, but the
company wants to re-open without considering the plight of these people.”

He said they would fight to have the plight of these villagers resolved.

“Look at this situation whereby one is failing to sustain his family because
the company took the land,” he said.

Vice-President Joice Mujuru recently ordered the re-opening of the plant.

Efforts to get comment from Green Fuel public relations manager, Lillian
Muungani were fruitless as her phone went unanswered.

Last year, many angry villagers fought running battles with the police over
disputed land with the fuel company.

The villagers claimed the land dispute started in 2009, when management at
Green Fuel reneged on their promise to provide alternative land for the
farmers displaced by the project.

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‘Zim-EU agreement to suffocate trade’

April 7, 2013 in Business

THE Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) Zimbabwe signed with the
European Union (EU) is set to suffocate the country’s trade and industrial
development policies due to the removal of taxes, a regional
non-governmental organisation has warned.

Report by Ndamu Sandu

Zimbabwe alongside Mauritius, Seychelles and Madagascar concluded the IEPA
with the EU that would result in the removal of taxes between the African
countries and the EU.

But in an analysis of the trade pact, the Southern and Eastern Africa Trade,
Information and Negotiations Institute (Seatini) said the elimination of the
export taxes is a blow to both the National Trade Policy (NTP) and
Industrial Development Policy (IDP) meant to promote the trade and
industrial revival respectively.

Last year, government launched the Industrial Development Policy 2012-2016
that advocates value-addition or beneficiation and the NTP to guide the
country’s trade with the rest of the world.

“There is no doubt that for Zimbabwe to successfully implement the NTP and
IDP it will need to use tools such as export taxes. However, Article 15 of
the interim EPA agreement that Zimbabwe signed and ratified provides for
elimination of export taxes, thereby suffocating the policy space Zimbabwe
is referring to in its National Trade policy on the need for value-adding
natural resources,” Seatini said in a discussion paper,  Zimbabwe’s control
over its natural resources in the WTO context.

Article 15 of the IEPA provides that for the duration of the agreement, the
parties shall not institute any new duties or taxes on, or in connection
with, the exportation of goods to any other party in excess of those imposed
on products destined for sale.

The organisation recommended that Zimbabwe “must exercise its right to
develop its economy and protect the environment through the use of export
taxes, until such a time when the economy can competitively trade with the
rest of the world enabling it to then gradually eliminate the taxes on a
product by product basis”.

It also recommended that government should consult widely all relevant
ministries and the private sector on its existing and proposed laws relating
to any prohibitions and restrictions on the export of natural resources
especially metals and minerals.

Seatini warned that the use of export restrictions would be in violation of
World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

Article XI:2(a) of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade does not allow
WTO members to impose prohibitions and restrictions on the importation of
any product, unless they (restrictions and prohibitions) are temporary,
addresses critical shortages, relates to foodstuffs or other products and
are essential to the exporting WTO member.

It said it would be difficult for Zimbabwe to prove the critical shortage

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Tobacco output expected to increase

April 7, 2013 in Business

THE increase in the number of tobacco growers registering for this year’s
selling season is likely to push the expected 170 million kg upwards, an
official with the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) has said.

Report by Kudzai Chimhangwa

The latest statistics released by the board indicate that up to 82 833
growers had registered for the 2013 season compared to 58 801 during the
same period last year.

Only a fortnight ago, about 77 604 growers had registered for the 2013

TIMB chairperson, Monica Chinamasa said more resettled people were realising
that there was absolutely no reason why they could not grow the crop on land
where tobacco was previously grown.

“Secondly, tobacco is the only crop which is paying well and on time,
compared to other crops. They are looking for cash,” she said.

She said most farmers were doing their best to produce a good quality crop
although the major problems centred on the lack of funding or investment in
research and development as well as issues to do with access to inputs.

Good quality cured tobacco reaching one metre long is fetching as much as
US$5,80 per kg this season.

The board’s figures indicate that Mashonaland Central province contributed a
total of 26 109 farmers including 8 271 new tobacco growers in 2013.

Mashonaland West also witnessed a substantial increase of 7 710 new growers
with a total of 25 633 farmers from the province growing the golden leaf.

Manicaland province had 4 674 new growers, totaling 15 515 farmers from the

A1 farmers constitute 43% of re-gistered growers, closely followed by 39%
being communal area farmers.

Up to 7,6 million kg of tobacco have been sold to South Africa followed by
the United Arab Emirates and China at 2,2 million kg and 1,7 million kg

Sales to date rose to 42,8 million kg at an average price of US$3, 74 per kg
compared to 34,5million kg averaging US$3,71 per kg last year.

Zimbabwe’s reputation for producing high quality, well-graded flue-cured
tobacco with minimal chemical residues has continued to attract a ready
global market.

In 2009, the country produced 58,5 million kgs worth US$174,5 million
progressively moving upwards to 144,5 million kg worth US$540 million last

Downstream industries benefitting from the tobacco industry include auction
floors, merchants, cigarette manufacturers, and primary agro-input suppliers
among others.

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Mugabe will not allow security sector reforms

April 7, 2013 in Opinion

As the rhetoric and clamour for elections gathers momentum, it is convenient
to warn fellow citizens of the challenges that lie ahead. The formation of
the inclusive government in 2008 masked deep-rooted decay in the politics of
Zimbabwe and it is these challenges that haunt and will continue troubling
citizens as we approach elections and thereafter.

Sunday View by William Muchayi

It has been the suspicion of many within the opposition circles and outside
that Morgan Tsvangirai defeated Robert Mugabe convincingly in the first
round of elections in 2008, but was robbed of victory as the latter connived
with Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to create a false scenario whereby
none of the adversaries scored more than the 50% benchmark to have an
outright victory, hence the need for a run-off. As Baba Jukwa’s revelations
on social media reveal, Tsvangirai did garner 67% of the vote compared to
Mugabe’s mere 28,7%. However, Tsvangirai was robbed of victory culminating
in the run-off which he boycotted in protest of intimidation and violence.

Five years after the signing of the GPA, it is regrettable that no
meaningful reforms have been implemented. The security sector is still as
intact as it was before. The same generals who were behind the 2008
atrocities are still in their war trenches, with some of them even promoted
to higher ranks as a reward for the role they played in propping up the
regime. Recently Zimbabwe security minister Sydney Sekeramayi was quoted
arguing that a call for the security sector reform is uncalled for as it is
tantamount to a call for regime change. For Mugabe, maintaining the status
quo in the security sector is a matter of survival as opposed to luxury. He
has lost all respect among the electorate and for him to maintain his power
he needs the backing of the military. Much is also at stake for the

Victory for the opposition would leave them vulnerable as they are forced to
answer charges of human rights abuses which hang around their necks. Also,
they cannot afford to let go all the fortune they have amassed throughout
the reign of Mugabe. A Tsvangirai victory is a threat to all that they have
accumulated. Moreover, the same individuals are following events around the
continent, for instance, the surrender of Bosco Ntaganda of the DRC before
the ICC in the Hague. Because of the above reasons, Mugabe will never give
in to demands for security sector reforms and the opposition has to live
with this reality. The old mentality of Mugabe and his security chiefs has
not yet changed and because of that they will fight to the end to rob
Tsvangirai of victory again. Faced with this reality, the MDC seems to be
powerless to effect change from within as was the hope when they entered
into this marriage of convenience, leaving the playing field as uneven as
before in Mugabe’s favour. The chances of falling back into anarchy as in
2008 are as real as ever.

There have been no meaningful media reforms since 2008. The clampdown by the
partisan police on people using small wind-up radios is an attempt by Mugabe
to restrict the electorate’s access to information. The dysfunctional ZBC
that propagates Zanu PF propaganda is viewed by the regime as the right
source of information for the electorate. The awarding of licences to two
new players to broadcast is a non-event as they are all linked to the
regime. In a sense, it is just an extension of Zanu PF’s control of the
airwaves. Posa and Aippa are still at the regime’s disposal to stifle
freedom of speech and expression.

Perpetrators of the 2008 atrocities are still roaming the streets with none
of them having been brought to the courts. These thugs are well-known but
are in the safe hands of those who feed them. With most of them reported to
be on government’s payroll, they just wait for a call to unleash their reign
of terror. The judiciary on the other hand is rendered powerless to
prosecute the criminals, as it has compromised itself in favour of the
executive. As a result, victims of politically motivated violence remain
vulnerable as they are not protected by the institutions which are meant to
protect them.

The ZEC as well as the Registrar General’s office have not been reformed
enough for the electorate to have confidence in them. Similar to 2008,
Mugabe is likely to rely on these two institutions to rig the forthcoming
elections in a smarter way than before. As mentioned above, violence in the
forthcoming elections is not likely to match that of 2008 for a number of
reasons. Firstly, Mugabe is old and tired and this election is likely to be
his last. As such, he may want to leave the stage peacefully, contrary to
what many may believe. Jerry Rawlings of Ghana left the stage in the same

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MDC-T needs strategy and ideological clarity

April 7, 2013 in Opinion

It is sad that the mainstream MDC is losing focus in terms of strategy and
ideology. The costly blunders it is making need rectification as soon as
possible, if it still harbours ambitions of forming the next government. The
sooner the party stops playing into the hands of Zanu PF, the better for all
patriotic and progressive Zimbabweans.

Sunday View by Fanuel Mabhugu

I am one of those who strongly think that the mainstream MDC led by Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai lacks strategists, despite a plethora of
accomplished lawyers in its fold. Sometimes, I end up thinking that the
“workers’ party” was infiltrated by Zanu PF’s intelligence operatives, who
have successfully turned the party upside down or the party’s top brass is
impervious to advice. Whichever is the case, the party needs to go back to
the drawing board if it still has any hopes of being the ruling party any
time soon.

One area the party needs improvement on is ideological clarity, which is
something Zanu PF is good at. Right now, it is difficult to tell whether the
mainstream MDC is capitalist, socialist or worker-oriented. It is just a
loose coalition of different groups with various ideological views, which
were brought together by their common hatred of Zanu PF. It is like a ball
made up of many layers of different materials with different melting points.
Surely as the temperature increases, each layer will fall off until the core
remains. If the party had a clear ideology, this would not be the case.

Currently the party is trading insults and vitriol with its former allies
like Lovemore Madhuku’s National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) and
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), which were not happy by its
failure to push for constitutional provisions which would protect their
interests. The unwarranted cold war with its former allies will not help it
at all. This would not have been the case if the party had a clear ideology.
It is, therefore, prudent for the mainstream MDC to swallow its pride and
extend an olive branch to all progressive forces whose feathers it has
carelessly ruffled both in words and deeds.

One would have expected a more tactful approach in dealing with the group
interests of civil servants by this “workers party” since they form a large
chunk of enlightened voters. However, the party did not only perpetuate
their suffering, but also worked in cahoots with Zanu PF to draft and
campaign for a draft constitution that is seriously discriminatory to their
cause. Again, this is caused by a dearth of ideology in the mainstream MDC.

My other respectful submission to the mainstream MDC is that its information
department needs fine-tuning and re-alignment. Arrogance will not help the
MDC’s cause. For its spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora to brand civil servants
union leaders like Raymond Majongwe who, in consultation with their
constituencies, had registered their displeasure with the lack of labour
rights for civil servants in the Copac draft constitution, as “unintelligent
and dull” was at best careless and at worst, unwise. They must remember
arrogance was Zanu PF’s pitfall and it can be MDC’s waterloo as well.

Who will benefit from these blunders, one may ask? Zanu PF, of course! The
party should realise that their days of relying on a protest vote are over,
hence the need for introspection, insight, hindsight and foresight by its
inner circle and think tanks.

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Beatrice Mtetwa has the right to be here

April 7, 2013 in Editorial

In 1962 Herbert Wiltshire Chitepo was appointed Director of Public
Prosecutions (DPP) in Tanzania.

From the Editor’s Desk by Nevanji Madanhire

This effectively made him the Tanzanian government’s chief legal officer.

In 1994 Simpson Mutambanengwe was appointed to the Namibian High Court. He
also served on the Supreme Court of that country, both as acting Chief
Justice and, after his retirement, several times as Acting-Judge of Appeal.

Esmail Chatikobo, quit the Zimbabwean bench in July 2001 to join the
Botswana High Court. He died in 2009 aged 50 of heart failure.
Justice Moses Chinhengo is presently a High Court judge in Botswana.

The great lawyers cited above never denounced their Zimbabwean citizenship
on taking up these positions in foreign lands because it was needless to do
so. Indeed Zimbabwe has exported great legal minds abroad and as a country
we should all be proud of this.

Zimbabwean expatriates are working in high positions all over the world. You
find Zimbabwean professors in almost every reputable university in the
world. They are where they are mostly because of their personal
achievements. They have been able to work in foreign governments and
institutions primarily because these governments and institutions have seen
their qualifications, professionalism and have liked the value they add.

We have heard that there are at least five Zimbabwean engineers working at
the Pentagon, the headquarters of the United States Department of Defence.
Unconfirmed reports say our own Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara once
worked there applying his knowledge of Robotics and Mechatronics for

For foreigners to even be considered for work at the hub of US military
might is unimaginable if one doesn’t consider the US philosophy of
harnessing the world’s greatest brains in all fields, including heart
surgery and nuclear physics. Albert Einstein’s greatest achievements came
after immigrating to the US.

Nations that employ foreigners in highly specialised fields for their own
benefit have outgrown some of the irrational feelings brought about by an
overplayed sense of nationalism. Xenophobia is one such irrational
sentiment. Interestingly Zimbabwe is said to have three million of its
children working in different fields across the world. This would suggest
Zimbabweans should be the last people to hate foreigners working in their

People and newspapers that promote xenophobia do not appreciate the extent
to which this irrational hatred of foreigners can go. The brutal murder of
Ernesto Alfabeto Nhamuave, a 35-year-old Mozambican who was burned to death
during the xenophobic violence in South Africa in May 2008 continues to
haunt the world today.

The photographs of him burning were carried in newspapers and television
stations across the world in a manner that brought home just how barbaric
violence against foreigners can be.

In the past few weeks we have seen and read articles about top human rights
lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa which have sought to isolate her as an unwanted
foreigner meddling in our affairs. Not only have the articles been full of
untruths, but disturbingly they have sought to make her a legitimate target
for attack. It may no longer be safe for her to walk freely in the streets
of Harare.

The articles have been based on outright lies about her immigration status.
Legal experts such as world-renowned author Petina Gappah have said about
the articles, “The worst things are the legal inaccuracies; they quote
provisions on citizenship that do not apply to her at all, and imply that
she is here illegally.”

The truth of the matter, Gappah says, is that, “Mtetwa is a permanent
resident, [though] not a citizen. So she is allowed to travel on her Swazi
passport. She is also allowed, as confirmed by a Supreme Court judgement, as
a permanent resident of Zimbabwe, to engage in employment or other gainful
activity in any part of Zimbabwe.”

What is sickening is how these peddlers of falsehoods on Mtetwa’s
immigration status have unashamedly gone on to attack her private life. All
sorts of lewd names have been used to describe her relationship with former
husband, mathematician, Dr David Mtetwa, a professor at the University of

Dr Mtetwa was good enough to refuse to talk about his former wife and has
also requested that his privacy to be respected. These personal attacks on
Mtetwa reveal another phobia at the heart of the writers who have sought to
vilify her — misogyny, the hatred for women and girls. All her detractors
have emerged to be men who feel threatened by her achievements and who wish
to endear themselves to the system because they cannot survive outside of

Misogyny manifests itself in several ways such as “sexual discrimination,
denigration of women, violence against women and sexual objectification of

Because she is woman, Mtetwa is being portrayed not as a successful legal
practitioner but as an agent of foreign forces and a loose woman. There have
been male lawyers who have defended human rights as robustly as Mtetwa has
done but we have not seen them described in the uncharitable words that she
has been described with. Some of the expletives used to describe her have
shamed us a nation because they can’t be used in polite society.

How many male lawyers have divorced and moved on with their lives? Have
these been labelled the way Mtetwa has been by these shameless writers? The
principal motive behind this denigration is to make it easy for political
thugs to physically attack her when they see her on the street. We have seen
how in Zimbabwe women cannot be allowed their own individuality without
being labelled prostitutes. We have seen how women going about their
legitimate business have been surrounded by the police and incarcerated on
the false accusation that they were loitering for the purpose of
prostitution. We have seen how commuter omnibus touts and louts have with
impunity attacked women and girls for dressing the way they feel. The idea
behind the writings we have read recently on Mtetwa is to bunch her with all
the women who have been deemed unsuitable to live in our society, so she too
can be a legitimate target for physical violence.

The truth of the matter is that Beatrice Mtetwa is working legally in
Zimbabwe and has every right to excel in the field of her choice without
discrimination. She has no apologies to make about her Swazi links in the
same way that Chitepo, Mutambanengwe, Chinhengo and other Zimbawean
expatriates working in foreign lands had no apologies to make for occupying
the various spaces they did or still do.

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