Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category

JOHANNESBURG – To show how the party led
by President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe uses
brute force against its opponents, Elton
Mangoma , a cabinet minister in the country ‘s
troubled power -sharing government, rolled up
a pant leg during a recent interview at his
home to reveal scars from a 2007 police
beating that he said shattered his kneecap.
” If South Africa, the African Union and the
international community fold their arms , then
Zimbabwe can descend into chaos, ” warned
Mr . Mangoma , a leader in the Movement for
Democratic Change, or M. D . C . , the party that
fought Mr . Mugabe ‘s rule for a decade before
regional leaders pressured it into governing
with him for the past two years .
On Thursday , the police came again for Mr .
Mangoma , the minister of energy and power
development, who now stands accused of
criminal abuse of office in a deal to procure
fuel – charges he denied through his lawyer.
Also on Thursday , Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court –
viewed by many as partial to Mr . Mugabe, 87 –
invalidated the 2008 election of a speaker of
Parliament from the Movement for Democratic
The day ‘s events provided yet more evidence of
Zimbabwe’s rapidly deteriorating political
situation .
” The fact of the matter is that Zimbabwe is in a
crisis ,” Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai ,
leader of the Movement for Democratic
Change, said in a statement on Thursday .
Mr . Tsvangirai , who in March 2007 was badly
beaten at the same police station where Mr .
Mangoma said he was beaten , cited signs of
what he called a campaign by Mr . Mugabe’ s
party, ZANU-PF , to ” promote chaos and fear in
the country ” : 73 meetings of the M. D . C .
banned or disrupted by the police in recent
weeks; assaults on Mr . Tsvangirai ‘s supporters
in the slums of the capital, Harare , and in the
countryside; a propaganda onslaught against
him and his party in the state- controlled media ;
and the arrest and jailing of M. D. C . leaders and
activists opposed to Mr . Mugabe ‘s 31 -year rule.
Mr . Tsvangirai , who won more votes than Mr .
Mugabe in a March 2008 general election but
withdrew before a June runoff after widespread
attacks on his supporters , contended that
members of his party were being hounded by a
police force and criminal justice system
controlled by Mr . Mugabe .
” But ZANU-PF cadres and securocrats who
murdered people in the run-up to the 27 June
election are roaming free, ” Mr . Tsvangirai said .
He said Mr . Mangoma and six activists accused
of treason after watching videos of the
uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia were ” innocent
victims of a barbaric and senseless
dictatorship . “
Mr . Mugabe ‘s supporters said that the activists
were plotting to overthrow him. Jonathan
Moyo, a member of ZANU- PF ‘s Politburo , wrote
in the Feb . 27 Sunday Mail , a state-controlled
newspaper, that with the uprisings in North
Africa, ” no doubt vigilance has become the
order of the day all around .
” Only God knows why these hopeless copycats,
whose death wish is to be arrested at the
Harare Gardens and be charged with treason in
accordance with the rule of law they love
preaching about, honestly think they can do an
Egypt or Libya in Zimbabwe,” Mr . Moyo wrote.
ZANU-PF ‘ s crackdown seems driven by anxiety
about revolutions against autocratic rulers
sweeping North Africa and the Middle East , as
well as by the party’ s own push for elections
this year – elections that leaders of the
Movement for Democratic Change have warned
could lead to another violent and discredited
election .
In interviews in recent days , spokesmen for
both Mr . Mugabe and his party have said that
the elections must happen this year .
But South Africa, tasked by regional leaders
with brokering Zimbabwe’ s power- sharing deal ,
is pushing back against Mr . Mugabe ‘s rush to
the polls with unusual vigor that marks a
surprising break with its long and much
criticized ” quiet diplomacy ” in responding to its
neighbor ‘ s decade -long economic and political
In a statement on March 1 , Marius Fransman ,
the deputy minister in South Africa’s
Department of International Relations and
Cooperation, said South Africa and the region
took the position that any election held before
Zimbabweans adopted a new constitution
through a referendum would violate the power –
sharing agreement .
Told that ZANU-PF officials had said there
would be an election this year , Lindiwe Zulu , a
special adviser to South Africa’s president ,
Jacob Zuma , said in a recent interview that
pulling one off that soon would take a miracle .
And on a recent visit to Zimbabwe, Ms. Zulu
said , Mr . Zuma ‘s team plainly voiced concern
about a recurrence of violence and
intimidation .
” If they are going to have an election by
October , they would have to do a 360-degree
turnaround at high speed, ” she said .
Even more forceful comments came from
South Africa’ s deputy president , Kgalema
Motlanthe, who acknowledged the harsh
realities confronting his own country , where
more than a third of working – age people are
jobless and often resent the estimated two
million Zimbabweans who have settled here to
escape their devastated homeland .
Mr . Motlanthe called for the next Zimbabwean
elections to be a watershed in the country ‘s
history, free of violence and observed by
international monitors from the region and
Europe, his spokesman , Thabo Masebe,
confirmed .
” It is the will of the Zimbabwean people which
must determine the future of Zimbabwe as a
country , and it is in our interest as a country
that indeed we proceed in that direction ,” Mr .
Motlanthe said last week. ” Because if we fail
and Zimbabwe implodes , literally the border
between Zimbabwe will disappear and we will
sit with all the problems. “

Published: March 11 , 2011

HARARE — Zimbabwe ‘s Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai called on Thursday for a ” divorce” in
the unity government, proposing elections under
a roadmap by the Southern African
Development Community .
” We have reached a moment where we are
saying , let’ s agree that this is not working , it ‘s
dysfunctional,” Tsvangirai told a news
conference at his party ‘s headquarters.
” Let’ s make arrangements to go for elections
under a roadmap designed by SADC so that we
have a clear, legitimate government. “
” Even those with legendary patience, like some
of us, have reached a stage where we are saying
enough is enough. There is obviously a
breakdown in the relationship between the
parties,” Tsvangirai said .
” If people find that a marriage has reached
irreconcilable differences , then agree to a
divorce. “
Tsvangirai spoke hours after police detained
energy minister Elton Mangoma , a key member
of his Movement for Democratic Change ( MDC) ,
on undisclosed charges.
The MDC suffered another blow Thursday when
the Supreme Court nullified the 2008 election of
party chairman Lovemore Moyo as speaker of
parliament , following an appeal by Mugabe’ s
close ally , Jonathan Moyo.
Tsvangirai said Mangoma ‘ s arrest by a police
constable was a reflection of Mugabe ‘s ZANU-PF
party’ s ” total disregard to the basic tenets of
decency . “
” His arrest is an assault on the global political
agreement , ” the deal that created the unity
government two years ago, Tsvangirai said.

( AFP )

HARARE , Zimbabwe – – Zimbabwe’ s leader of 30
years returned to Singapore for a medical check ,
his fourth visit there this year , his spokesman
said Friday , as questions about his health add to
uncertainty about the country ‘s political future.
Presidential spokesman George Charamba said
Friday that President Robert Mugabe, 87 , left
Thursday for a final examination after
undergoing routine cataract surgery in
Singapore in January. He is expected home on
Sunday, state media reported Friday .
” There is nothing to cause any alarm” over
Mugabe’ s health , Charamba said .
At celebrations marking his birthday on Feb . 21 ,
an increasingly frail Mugabe said even if his
body ” may get spent ,” his mind remained young
and alert .
But seven weeks away in Asia since December –
three of them his official annual vacation – have
fueled doubts on the health of Zimbabwe’ s
authoritarian ruler since independence in 1980 .
Officials have dismissed reports he received
treatment for prostate cancer .
Eldred Masunungure , director of Zimbabwe’ s
Mass Public Opinion Institute, said recent
questions about Mugabe ‘s health add a measure
of uncertainty , but that even if the elderly
president were to die, his military-political
machine would remain strong.
” The system is not going away if an individual
dies, ” added Susan Booysen, a South African
pollster who analyzed survey results released
Friday that show Zimbabweans have grown
more fearful of saying whom they would vote
for, a sign Mugabe is rebounding politically after
being forced to share power with his longtime
rival two years ago.
Mugabe’ s party lost the 2008 parliamentary
elections, and he later entered into a unity
government with longtime opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai . Zimbabweans still see
Mugabe as firmly in control though , in large part
because of his security forces , according to the
survey results.
The survey conducted late last year by Freedom
House and the Mass Public Opinion Institute
shows 75 percent of Zimbabweans believe
Mugabe is solely or mainly in control, and 45
percent believe his ZANU- PF party has not
ceded power.
As a measure of growing fear , the researchers
found more Zimbabweans in 2010 compared to
2009 were unwilling to say for whom they
would vote if elections were held tomorrow – 42
percent , compared to 31 percent .
A representative sample of 1 ,200 people were
surveyed face-to -face in November and
December , and the margin of error was 2. 8
Masunungure attributed Mugabe’ s resurgence
to missteps by Tsvangirai and to the money that
has flowed to Mugabe ‘s supporters since the
discovery of diamonds .

The Associated Press
Friday , March 4, 2011 ; 6 : 47 AM

Washington (CNN) — The United States
expressed concern Thursday about recent
arrests in Zimbabwe of political and civil society
activists and allegations by their lawyer that
some of them were tortured.
On February 19 , former Movement for
Democratic Change Member of Parliament
Munyaradzi Gwisai and 45 other labor union
and student activists ” who had gathered
peacefully to discuss recent events in Egypt “
were arrested and charged with treason , State
Department spokesman Philip J . Crowley said in
a statement .
Other political and civil society activists have
also been arrested, he said.
” Gwisai ‘ s defense attorney has reported that
several of the 46 people were tortured while in
custody, and we understand that the magistrate
has ordered physical examinations to
substantiate those claims,” he said. ” We call on
the government to provide medical attention for
those who need it and , if torture occurred , to
take immediate action to hold the perpetrators
accountable . “
A ruling on the charges’ merits is to be delivered
March 7 .
Crowley called on the government of Zimbabwe
to uphold rights spelled out under the
International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights and to ensure that those arrested are
guaranteed due process .
Zimbabwean authorities said the 46 people were
arrested and charged with treason after they
were caught watching footage of the protests
that led to the ouster of Tunisian leader Zine El
Abidine Ben Ali and Egyptian President Hosni
Mubarak .
” On 16 February they held a meeting and the
purpose of the meeting was to organize,
strategize and implement the removal of a
constitutional government of Zimbabwe by
unconstitutional means , the Tunisian-Egyptian
way ,” prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba said last
week in court .
At least 12 of the activists were beaten with
broomsticks on their buttocks and the soles of
their feet, defense attorney Alec Muchadehama
told a packed courtroom on Thursday . All 46
defendants were charged with treason, a charge
that carries a death sentence in Zimbabwe.
” If watching television footage of the uprisings
was treason, most Zimbabweans would be guilty
of it because we watch news daily,”
Muchadehama said .
Robert Mugabe, 87 , has ruled Zimbabwe since
independence in 1980 . Like Mubarak and Ben
Ali , he has been accused of rigging elections and
instituting repressive laws to tighten his grip on
power .
The arrests may be an indication that authorities
are worried that the changes sweeping across
north Africa may inspire Zimbabweans to rise
up . The opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, MDC, which is in a troubled unity
government with Mugabe’ s ZANU-PF , has called
the arrests ” an abuse of state machinery by
ZANU-PF to suppress the people’s views . “
Mugabe ‘s policies over the past decade have
been blamed for plunging the once-prosperous
country into economic crisis . Mugabe has called
for an election this year , but his political rival
and leader of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai, has
threatened to boycott the poll if a referendum
on a new constitution is not held .

By the CNN Wire Staff
March 4 , 2011 — Updated 0151 GMT ( 0951

President Robert Mugabe yesterday made a U –
turn on elections , conceding he would not
unilaterally declare polls.
The President told journalists after officially
launching his Zanu PF party’ s anti -sanctions
campaign in Harare that he would follow the
dictates of the Global Political Agreement ( GPA) ,
which resulted in a power -sharing government
between Zanu PF , MDC-T and MDC.
“ We don’ t do things unilaterally ,” he said.
“ Things must be done properly within the GPA.
The GPA is a vehicle put together to arrange a
process . We have started working on the
process . There has been an outreach and now
we are moving towards drafting the
constitution . ”
President Mugabe has previously accused the
two MDC parties of delaying the new
constitution as a ploy to set back elections .
This was a major climbdown from his earlier
declaration that the country would go to polls
with or without a new constitution .
Addressing journalists in January, on his return
from Singapore , where he had gone on
vacation , President Mugabe threatened to call
for elections to bring to an end the inclusive
“ I have the constitutional right — in the absence
of the GPA position regarding the constitutional
process — to cause an election to be held on
the basis of the old constitution ,” President
Mugabe said then .
He added : “ If they ( MDCs) don’ t want the
constitutional process I will have Parliament
dissolved and go to elections . ”

19 : 08

The Times Editorial : Our government finally
appears to be getting tough on Zimbabwe’s
long -serving authoritarian president . Despite
making all the right noises after he took over the
presidency from Thabo Mbeki , President Jacob
Zuma failed , at least publicly , to depart
significantly from his predecessor ‘s ” softly
softly” approach to dealing with President
Robert Mugabe .
As a result , many Zimbabweans , who have
endured years of misrule under the 87 -year -old
president – as well as under the increasingly
strained ” unity” government of his Zanu -PF and
Morgan Tsvangirai ‘s Movement for Democratic
Change – remain sceptical of Pretoria ‘s claim to
be an honest broker.
Mugabe and his acolytes , who control the police
and military, have sidelined Tsvangirai at every
turn, failing to consult him on key
appointments, frustrating the work of his
finance minister and arresting his supporters –
even his drivers and bodyguards – on spurious
charges. Of late, Mugabe has been threatening
to call an early election despite the fact that a
new constitution is not in place , a precondition
of the agreement underpinning the unity
Though Zuma ‘ s mediators have no doubt been
working hard behind the scenes to resolve the
differences between Zanu -PF and the MDC, the
silence from Pretoria has been deafening .
Until yesterday , that is.
Marius Fransman , the deputy minister of
international relations , took the unusual step of
saying that South Africa would not allow its
neighbour to hold an election until it had met
the outstanding conditions of the power -sharing
agreement , including the adoption of a new
constitution .
Without mentioning Mugabe by name ,
Fransman said ” any calls for an election without
the finalisation of the constitution – making
process are in breach of the [ agreement ] as well
as of the constitution of Zimbabwe . . . which
gives legitimacy to the inclusive government ” .
You can ‘ t put it more clearly than that .

Mar 1, 2011 11 : 07 PM | By The Editor, The
Times Newspaper

Business leaders have said if any elections were
to be held in Zimbabwe, they should not be
allowed to disrupt the economy and that could
only happen if conditions under which the polls
are conducted were agreeable to all contesting
The president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries ( CZI ) , Joseph Kanyekanye , said last
week elections were really not necessary at the
moment .
“ Industry feels the country must first attain full
economic stabilisation before any election is
held , ” Kanyekanye said in a statement .
“ If elections are held now , they are likely to
affect the progress that industry has made . ”
Politicians have indicated elections were likely to
be held sometime this year .
Economic analyst Eric Bloch said if elections
were held they would have to be free and fair .
“ Elections are not a problem as long as they are
free and fair . If they are not free and fair , the
economy is likely to go backwards,” Bloch said .
Bloch said the process and outcome of the
elections would affect foreign investment .
“ The manner in which the elections will be held
and the outcome will greatly determine foreign
investment and support,” he said.
“ It is critical that whatever happens does not
chase away potential foreign investments into
the country . ”
Business has spoken with one voice on the issue
of elections .
CZI said the coalition government had made
progress which had seen the stabilisation of the

STAFF WRITER – Feb 27 2011 18 : 14

THE country has witnessed an upsurge in the
number of senior MDC-T members , including
legislators, being prosecuted since President
Robert Mugabe announced that elections will be
held this year with or without a new
constitution , analysts said this week .
The analysts interviewed by Zimbabwe
Independent argue that Zanu PF has since
Independence persecuted its opponents by
arresting and detaining them , with the highest
number of detentions occurring since 1999
when the MDC- T was formed .
MDC-T legislators — Douglas Mwonzora , Rodger
Tazviona and Nelson Chamisa — have been
arrested or arraigned before the courts in
February facing different charges.
The pattern , analysts believe , shows a trend of
politically related persecutions of Zanu PF
opponents reminiscent of the 2000 era when
many MDC supporters and political activists
were arrested and detained on charges, which in
most cases fell away before plea .
Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe chairman Jonah
Gokova said the premature election calls by
Zanu PF triggered the arrests.
“ Everything happening in the country now has
everything to do with the premature call for
elections ,” Gokova said . “ We are worried that
politicians are talking of elections even before
the guarantors of the GPA have given the go
ahead for polls. ”
Zanu PF leadership has expressed its intent to
have elections this year , ending the lifespan of
the inclusive government formed in February
Media Centre director and political analyst
Ernest Mudzengi said the election fever has
contributed to the arrests the country is
“ The arrests are connected to the election call ,”
Mudzengi said , “ More so , it has to do with Zanu
PF ’ s wish to hang on to power by whatever
means . ”
Since the inauguration of the inclusive
government, more than 13 sitting legislators
from the MDC-T have been arrested on various
charges that range from denigrating and
belittling the office of the President to politically
motivated violence and rape charges.
Among those arrested and arraigned before the
courts since the formation of the inclusive
government are Tendai Biti, Blessing Chebundo ,
Lynnette Karenyi , Iain Kay , Tongai Matutu ,
Mathias Mlambo, Pishai Muchauraya, Shuah
Mudiwa , Roy Bennett and Morgan Komichi.
The MDC- T said the arrests show that the police
force is partisan and is used to harass Zanu PF
opponents every time there is talk of an
election .
It said in a statement the arrests were political
and intended to frustrate it especially now when
Zanu PF is pushing for an early election . They
argued that if the police were not partisan why
then were Zanu PF supporters not arrested at all
for violence .
“ What we find strange is that it is only members
from the MDC who are being arrested when it is
very clear that it is Zanu PF that are perpetrating
political violence ,” the MDC-T information
department said , “ Last week , Honourable
( Douglas ) Mwonzora held a well attended rally
in his constituency but Zanu PF hooligans who
were clearly annoyed by the high turnout of the
rally attacked MDC members at the meeting . ”
The police , however , denied the allegations and
maintained that they are professional in
discharging their duties .
Police chief spokesperson , Senior Assistant
Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena dismissed the
MDC-T allegations that the police were a willing
tool for Zanu PF as no arrests have been made
to date.
“ It is a reality on the ground and if somebody
commits a crime they would be arrested ,”
Bvudzijena said , “ If it is for Mwonzora and
Tazviona they are now both before the courts
and we believe we have a strong case against
them . ”
Tazviona is facing charges of inciting and
committing acts of violence in the company of
MDC-T activists in Kwekwe .
MDC-T , however maintained that the police are
partisan and have gone on to introduce a
motion in the Senate that calls for the police to
do their duties professionally , impartially and
only in accordance with the laws and
constitution .
The motion was moved by Senator Morgan
Komichi after demonstrations by suspected
Zanu PF – aligned youths in Harare ’ s central
business district.
After the police -sanctioned demonstrations by
Zanu PF youths that rampaged through Harare ’ s
central business district, no arrests have been
made yet . The youths ransacked foreign owned
shops at the Gulf complex and looted goods and
merchandise in the name of indigenisation.
Police said the ransacking that took place at
Gulf Complex was not done by a Zanu PF –
aligned youth group , Upfumi Kuvadiki that had
organised the demonstration .
“ Police approached the youth group leadership
to call off the demonstration and they
complied, ” Bvudzijena said , “ The looters were
from other groups and thus we cannot hold
Upfumi Kuvadiki leadership responsible for the
mayhem . ”
Upfumi Kuvadiki secretary general Tatenda
Maroodza said their planned demonstration was
called off after they were advised by the police .
He said the violence in town had nothing to do
with them .
“ Yes , we called for a demonstration but as we
waited for a police escort we then heard that
another group had started ransacking the Gulf
Complex , ” Maroodza said , “ Our demonstration
never took off after we complied with the police
order to halt it in view of what was happening in
the city centre. ”
“ Other opposition political parties in the country
have had no members arrested for violence
because they are not violent . Look at MDC-M,
Mavambo or Zapu . ”
The MDC-T said the state, seemingly in
partnership with the police and judiciary , have
perpetuated this perception of partisanship by
denying MDC- T members freedom after they
are granted bail by the courts .
Tazviona and Mwonzora were granted bail
earlier this week by magistrates in Kwekwe and
Nyanga respectively but the state invoked
Section 121 that allows persons granted bail to
be further detained for up to 21 days as police
continue with their investigations.
On the other hand , Chamisa was arraigned
before the courts this week on charges of
negligent driving, which he allegedly committed
in January 2009.
Chamisa ’ s lawyer, Chris Mhike , said the
developments could not be interpreted
otherwise except that they are political.
“ Judging by the manner the papers were
furnished in the state outline , this is a rushed
prosecution , ” Mhike said , “ This is just an act of
politics where they are after MDC people so
they can persecute them . ”

Friday , 25 February 2011 08 : 27
Paidamoyo Muzulu

Zimbabwe is neither Tunisia nor Egypt . Far from
it! In fact , Zimbabwe’ s political predicament is
far worse than that of these two North African
countries before their recent revolutions .
But events in the two countries have certainly
planted ideas in Zimbabweans’ minds that may
influence the country ‘s future in a significant
way .
Comparisons can be odious but this is an
exercise worth doing in this instance . Until
Tunisia ‘ s Jasmine Revolution and Egypt ‘ s Nile
Revolution , both were considered passive and
docile societies. Zimbabweans are equally
perceived as apathetic and docile for having
tolerated Robert Mugabe ‘s repressive regime for
so long . Their fear of Mugabe ‘s army, police ,
intelligence agents and youth militia has kept in
check any desire to demand freedom through
revolutionary means .
Similarly, for decades Egyptians and Tunisians
lived under the paralysing fear of their leaders ‘
repressive apparatus – but they finally overcame
the fear and liberated themselves.
Like Egypt and Tunisia , Zimbabwe has a
technologically savvy young and educated
population , yet South Africa, Britain and other
countries have provided a safety valve and
cushion for them . The rural populace has ,
mostly through coercion , continued to provide
pivotal support for Mugabe ‘s Zanu -PF , thereby
thwarting any efforts to create the critical mass
needed for a people-power uprising .
Social media , particularly Facebook and Twitter ,
played a central role in the Tunisian and
Egyptian revolutions . Unfortunately the internet
is creaky in Zimbabwe and mobile- telephone
operators’ offerings lag behind the rest of the
world – while also being susceptible to political
arm – twisting. Current legislation renders
internet service providers and mobile operators
powerless against Zanu -PF bullying.

‘ Degree in violence ‘

As in Tunisia and Egypt , many Zimbabweans
consume satellite television and watch the same
cable networks , such as al -Jazeera , that played a
pivotal role in the success of the North African
revolutions . Yet Zimbabwe’s pliant, state-
controlled broadcaster must surely enjoy wider
audiences by dint of affordability more than
anything else. State – controlled newspapers
spew government propaganda and outright lies,
further bolstering Mugabe.
Perhaps the biggest difference between Egypt ‘ s
Hosni Mubarak and Tunisia ‘ s Zine al- Abidine Ben
Ali, on the one hand , and Mugabe, on the other,
is that Mugabe has an impressive record of
using state violence against defenceless citizens .
This is something he openly boasts about,
claiming , for instance , that he has a ” degree in
violence ” .
There is a belief about Mugabe that political
power came through the barrel of the gun , and
Zanu -PF was singularly responsible for this , so it
will not hesitate to defend it with the gun . But
Zanu -PF ‘ s political power has seen people’s
freedoms diminish, putting it in direct conflict
with the people’s will .
The military , police and intelligence services in
Zimbabwe long ago lost their professionalism ;
they see their brief as that of defending Mugabe
and Zanu -PF . They have not hesitated to act
against the people in quelling civil unrest or in
advancing Mugabe’ s political agenda during
elections . There is a strong sense they would
side with Mugabe were the people to revolt . It
can be argued , though, that the foot soldiers
may resist orders from on high to shoot, if push
comes to shove.
The problem with repression is that dictators
need more and not less of it to stay in power.
And more repression begets anger and
resentment , which require more doses of
repression, which in turn create the conditions
for an uprising as happened in Tunisia and
Egypt . In Zimbabwe this vicious cycle can only
be broken by the people taking matters into
their own hands .
The North African revolutions have potent
lessons for Zimbabwe. Key among these is the
fact that no amount of repression can kill the
people’s desire to free themselves from
dictatorship . The time will come when the
masses cast away their fear and claim their
freedom .

Confronting the oppressors

In Tunisia , the tipping point was the self-
immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi , an
unemployed college graduate : this brought
decades of pent -up feelings to the surface .
There is no knowing what will cause
Zimbabweans to jettison their fear and confront
their oppressors . Zimbabweans fought a gallant
war of liberation in the 1970 s; they can do it
Another powerful lesson from Tunisia and Egypt
is that opposition political parties are not
prerequisites for a revolution . Frustrated by
weak and ineffectual opposition to their rulers ,
Egyptians and Tunisians stood up and filled the
power vacuum . Zimbabweans find themselves
in similar circumstances: the opposition has
failed the people countless times .
By their very nature, opposition political parties
tend to cut deals that don’t deliver a people-
driven agenda. It is obvious that the current
political accommodation in Zimbabwe has
delivered more benefits to opposition politicians
than to the people.
It is doubtful , in the circumstances, that genuine
political change would come to Zimbabwe
through a free and fair election . The March
2008 poll was as free and fair as any election
could be , but it lacked the methodology for the
transfer of power – and the situation hasn ‘ t
changed. The prospect of people power bringing
change also appears remote at the moment , but
circumstances demand it .
We must avoid confusing the people with the
opposition . This is the mistake Africa has made ,
which has resulted in a defective model of
democratic transition . The opposition merely
replaces a dictatorship with a newer version
that still compromises the interests of the
Indeed , the single most important lesson from
Tunisia and Egypt is that we as Zimbabweans
are our own liberators . So let us stop
complaining about the lack of international
support. Why should the European Union , South
Africa, the United States , the United Nations , the
African Union or the Southern African
Development Community help us when we are
doing very little for ourselves ? The world will
only help us when we stand up and fight for our
freedom and reclaim our country from Mugabe
and the arrogant clique around him.

Price for freedom

Regrettably , no matter how justified our struggle
for freedom is, international attention and
support will only come as the body count of
innocent people increases on our streets . There
is a huge price to be paid for freedom — history
has many examples of this . The Zimbabwean
masses have to do what they have got to do ;
the cost of doing nothing is too high .
All the ingredients for a people-driven revolution
are present in Zimbabwe. These include the
kleptocratic Zanu -PF elite , which thinks it is
invincible and uses the bogeyman of the return
of colonialism to cling to power. It includes , too ,
frustration with the politically clueless
opposition , particularly the Movement for
Democratic Change ( MDC) , which is always
outwitted by Zanu -PF and has failed to provide
robust strategic leadership . This points to the
need for the people to take charge of their own
The people are angry and hurt from years of
abuse . Decades of political repression and
economic mismanagement and corruption have
seen the political elite get filthy rich while the
majority has become destitute. Education and
health infrastructure has collapsed as a result of
lack of investment and the flight of skills.
The electricity , water and road infrastructures
have decayed , taking a huge toll on the
economy and the quality of life. The
government and the struggling private sector
have failed to create jobs for the hundreds of
thousands of qualified youths who roam the
streets .
Attempts at resolving the Zimbabwean political
question through the ballot box have been
frustrated by Zanu- PF ‘s resorting to violence
and intimidation . Where these tactics have
failed , Zanu -PF has simply refused to transfer
power — as happened in 2008, resulting in the
current political arrangement with the two MDC
I have written before about the need for a
” Third Way ” in Zimbabwe’ s politics . Egypt and
Tunisia tell us that perhaps the people constitute
that Third Way in resolving our political
impasse . Only a new beginning will suffice for
Zimbabwe to regain its past glory . Sadly , both
Zanu -PF and all MDC formations appear
frustratingly clueless – they are caught in a
conundrum in which they cannot figure out how
to move the country forward .
Critically important at this juncture is that
Zimbabweans debunk the childish and unhelpful
attitude that equates criticism of the opposition
MDC with a lack of patriotism. This is exactly the
same attitude that gave us Zanu -PF . This
attitude says the MDC can do no wrong , and
when they do it’ s not their fault because they
are victims of circumstance. This is a dangerous
attitude that is comfortable with mediocrity for
as long as it brings change – – any form of
change .
Tunisia and Egypt have restored our collective
faith in the power of the people. All evidence
points to the fact that Zanu- PF is shaken by the
North African revolutions , but is in denial mode
and will respond to any nascent uprising the
only way it knows best – through repression and
state-led violence . Yet it is naive to believe the
people will accept this as their permanent
condition .

AFRICA – Feb 18 2011 09 : 01

MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai has
indicated that he is unlikely to take part in
elections that are due to be held later this year .
In a meeting with a business delegation from
Germany yesterday , Mr Tsvangirai – who is
Prime Minister in the inclusive Government –
said he would not participate in any election
that President Mugabe calls this year .
President Mugabe has the constitutional autho-
rity to dissolve Parliament and call an election at
any time .
” MDC-T ‘ s position is that elections should be
free and fair and we will make sure that
elections are not contested like 2008.
” The country should wait for the completion of
the constitution -making process .
” However , I think you know the people we are
dealing with , they are very unpredictable .
” Should ( President ) Mugabe try to unilaterally
declare elections , we will not be part of it . We
are not prepared to go for a contested election
again,” he said.
Observers have for months pointed out that
MDC-T is not willing to go to the polls because
they have no confidence in how they will
President Mugabe has indicated that he is not
prepared to remain as head of an inclusive
Government beyond mid-2011 because of his
partners ‘ insincerity . PM Tsvangirai yesterday
also defended Zimbabwe ‘s indigenisation
policies , saying the citizenry should benefit from
its resources ahead of foreigners .
” Zimbabwe is endowed with mineral resources
which are meant to benefit every Zimbabwean
wi-thout segregation on race or creed.
” White Zimbabweans are not and will not be
seg -regated , they also have rights just like
majority blacks but historically blacks were
marginalised thus we are trying to correct that .
” Blacks , as the majority, must benefit from their
own resources. “
Oddly though, PM Tsvangirai made no mention
of the contentious issue of sanctions in his
meeting with the Germans .
The meeting was held two days after the
European Union extended sanctions on
Zimbabwe for another year , a move analysts
said was a way of trying to influence this year ‘s
elections in MDC-T ‘s favour .
The lack of mention of sanctions in the meeting
was also odd considering that Germany ‘s
Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Albrecht Conze ,
who was present, had this week said some
members of the EU were questioning the
embargo’ s legality .
Zanu- PF and MDC have both slammed the
emba -rgo , while MDC-T has remained quiet
since the announcement on Tuesday .
Yesterday, MDC- T secretary -general Mr Tendai
Biti was not reachable for comment while
spokes-person Mr Nelson Chamisa said he was
in South Africa and could not say anything at
Minister of State in the PM ‘s Office , Mr Jameson
Timba was also not reachable , as was PM
Tsvangirai’ s spokesman , Mr Luke Tamborinyoka.

Published by the government of Zimbabwe
The herald