Archive for the ‘MDC-T’ Category

Prime Minister , Morgan Tsvangirai Friday
warned the inclusive government would
immediately collapse if he was arrested.
The Prime Minister faces possible arrest for
contempt of court following his condemnation
of a Supreme Court ruling which set aside the
election of former Speaker of the House of
Assembly, Lovemore Moyo.
Sources in the AG’ s office said Tsvangirai was
likely to be charged under Section 82 ( 1 )
subsections ( a ) and ( b ) of the Criminal Law
( Codification and Reform ) Act .
But Tsvangirai told journalists soon after
returning from a regional tour where he was
appraising regional leaders on the deteriorating
state of affairs in the country that his arrest
would be the “ final nail to the delicate and
fragile government” .
“ Well , the thing is that if there were people who
want to arrest me, I am here and I don’ t think I
want to run away ,” Tsvangirai said .
“ I have heard about it ( the arrest) and we will
see how they proceed but that will be the last
nail in this whole delicate and fragile
government. ”
He added : “ I think people should not try to be
over reactive. People should just be calm about
it but I will , of course , be waiting to see what
the charges will be should they decide to
proceed on that .
Last week an angry-looking Tsvangirai attacked
the Supreme Court ruling on former Speaker
Moyo.
He said : “ The decision is a clear reflection of the
state of affairs at the Bench , the Judiciary which
in the post -Dumbutshena and post – Gubbay era
largely discredited itself by becoming a willing
appendage of Zanu PF .
“ Dubious and pro- executive decisions have been
made in this era . ”
Tsvangirai warned yesterday the country could
slide back to “ dark days ” of violence unless
regional leaders helped save the power-sharing
deal with President Robert Mugabe.
The PM said he had met leaders of Botswana ,
Mozambique , Swaziland and Zambia and
briefed them about the growing political
tensions in the country .
The security organ of Sadc which brokered the
power-sharing pact is set to meet in Zambia on
March 31 with Zimbabwe high on the agenda.
Tsvangirai said he will be meeting the Sadc
appointed facilitator in the Zimbabwean crisis,
President Jacob Zuma of South Africa this
weekend , to brief him on the situation in the
country .
“ I have told these fellow leaders that the time
for Sadc to act and deliver is now . And we are
all agreed that Zimbabwe should not be allowed
to decelerate into an implosion ,” he said .
“ I have told the Sadc leaders of the renewed
siege mood in Zimbabwe , the arbitrary arrests,
the crackdown on democratic forces in the
country and the culture of impunity that is
seriously threatening the health and the life of
the inclusive government . ”
He said the civilian authority was no longer in
charge of Zimbabwe and called on Sadc leaders
to intervene and ensure that the country does
not explode into chaos.
“ While I was away in the last four days , it
appears the civilian authority is no longer in
charge and dark and sinister forces have
engaged in a hostile take -over of running the
affairs of the country , with or without the
blessing of some leaders of the civilian
authority, ” said Tsvangirai .
“ Together with civic society and other
democratic forces , we had planned to hold a
major peace rally in Harare tomorrow ( today) to
pray for peace in the country . We had duly
notified the police as required by law. I was told
yesterday that the police have refused to allow
that peaceful rally to proceed , against the
provisions of the law and the letter and spirit of
the GPA.
“ There has been an instruction from the Police
Commissioner -General to effectively ban
meetings when there is a Cabinet decision that
no meetings should be banned . ”
Tsvangirai however said the rally would go
ahead because the ban was illegal .
Yesterday a Harare magistrate, Barbara
Chimboza, ruled the MDC-T rally should not be
held because it was not in the interest of public
order .
Lawyers representing the MDC-T were late
yesterday preparing to file an urgent High Court
application to challenge the ruling .
Police banned MDC-T rallies scheduled for this
weekend , saying Zanu PF had either booked the
venues or was holding its own rallies in close
proximity to where the MDC-T wanted to
assemble .

OWEN GAGARE \ MOSES MATENGA | HARARE
– Mar 18 2011 17 : 49
http://www.newsday.co.zw

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
Change.
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
decline.
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. “

By CELIA W . DUGGER
Published: March 11 , 2011
http://www.NYTimes.com

IN a landmark ruling , the Supreme Court
yesterday nullified the election of Mr Lovemore
Moyo ( MDC- T ) as Speaker of Parliament , saying
the process was fraught with irregularities and
in breach of the Constitution of Zimbabwe .
Mr Moyo was elected Speaker in August 2008
after garnering 110 vo -tes against former MP
Mr Paul The-mba Nyathi who got 98 votes .
The majority decision was that the Clerk of
Parliament Mr Austin Zvo -ma did not properly
conduct the election as required by the
Constitution of Zimbabwe.
The ruling was made in an appeal in which
Tsholotsho North Member of the House of
Assembly Professor Jonathan Moyo ( Zanu- PF ) ,
together with Mr Moses Mzila Ndlovu , Mr Patrick
Dube and Mr Siyabonga Ncube all MDC MPs ,
were challenging the High Court decision that
validated Mr Moyo’ s election .
An appeal can be heard by three or more judges
of the Supreme Court and this particular one
was heard by five judges .
Mr Terence Hussein of Hussein and Ranchhod
law firm , appeared for the quartet while Ms
Choice Da-miso represented Mr Zvoma.
South African Advocate Matthew Chaskalson
acted for Mr Moyo.
Prof Moyo had argued that during the election ,
MDC-T parliamenta -rians were rowdy and some
of them brazenly exposed their completed ballot
papers before they deposited them in the ballot
box .
He had also accused Mr Zvoma of failing to
stamp his authority on the election process .
The effect of the judgment is that there is now a
vacancy for the post of the Speaker of
Parliament .
Mr Moyo, who gave up his seat as MP for the
Speaker ‘ s position , can now no longer sit in
Parliament .
He now has to cross his fingers that MDC-T will
nominate him for the post of Speaker and more
so that the party would be able to garner
sufficient votes to retain the position .
This is far from certain as the numbers and
dynamics in the House have completely changed
since the flawed election .
In the nullified election , six MPs Deputy Prime
Minister Thokozani Khupe , Tendai Biti , Piniel
Denga, Tall Chambati, Amos Chibaya and
Lovemore Moyo displayed their ba -llot papers
before depositing them in the ballot box .
Writing for the majority, Chief Ju-stice Godfrey
Chidyausiku ruled that the vote was not cast in
secrecy as required by the Constitution.
” Parliament is one of the most revered
institutions in any society. It consists of the
highest concentration of the political leadership
of the country . Parliament makes the laws that
we all obey.
” Parliament should , therefore , lead by example
and should scrupulously obey its own laws, ” said
Chief Justice Chidyausiku .
He added that the election of the Speaker
should be an example of how an election should
be conducted .
This, he said , was important in Zimbabwe , which
had been plagued by contestation of election
results.
” Parliament should use the election to set the
best example to the rest of the country . It is
unacceptable that Parliament should seek to
salvage a shambolic and chaotic election of a
Speaker through the doctrine of substantial
compliance ,” said the Chief Justice .
He said the six named MPs did not vote by
secret ballot and therefore , their votes were
irregular.
The inclusion of such votes in the determination
of the final outcome of the election , he said ,
constituted a failure to comply with Section 39
of the Constitution, as read with Standing Order
6.
The Order provides for the election of Speaker
of Parliament by secret ballot.
” The appeal is allowed with costs , to be paid by
respondents jointly and severally , the one paying
the other to be absolved .
” The order of the court a quo is set aside and
the following substituted . The application
succeeds and the election of second respondent
as Speaker is hereby set aside ,” ruled the Chief
Justice .
Justices Vernanda Ziyambi and Paddington
Garwe agreed with the judgment while Deputy
Chief Justice Luke Malaba and Justice Wilson
Sandura disagreed.
However , the Chief Justice ‘ s ruling is binding
since it had the majority favour .
Deputy Chief Justice Malaba felt that a voter was
perfectly entitled to reveal his vote during an
election.
In his dissenting judgment , Deputy Chief Justice
Malaba said there was no legal obligation that a
voter must vote secretly adding that he or she
may opt not to vote by secret ballot.
” As the voter must exercise the right to vote for
the Speaker by a secret ballot given on the
ballot paper freely, he or she can waive the right
to the secrecy of the ballot at the time the vote
is cast or at any time before he or she deposits
the ballot paper in the ballot box .
” A secret ballot is not compulsory insofar as the
voter who is not desirous of taking part in the
election by a secret ballot is concerned ,” said
Justice Malaba .
Justice Sandura noted that the Standing Order
was complied with in the election of the
Speaker .
He said of the 208 MPs who voted, only six ( 2 ,9
percent of the total ) displayed their marked
ballot papers before depositing them in the
ballot boxes .
Two hundred and two ( about 97 ,1 percent )
voted in accordance with the provisions of the
Sanding Order, Justice Sandura noted.
” Quite clearly , the degree of non-compliance
was insignificant , whereas the degree of
compliance was nearly one hundred percent .
” In the circumstances, as the object to be
achieved by the Standing Order was achieved
and not defeated or frustrated by the non-
compliance complained of , the degree of the
alleged non-compliance was insignificant. It
follows that the Standing Order was complied
with in the election of the Speaker ,” said Justice
Sandura

Fidelis Munyoro And Daniel Nemukuyu
Published by the government of Zimbabwe

HARARE ( Reuters) – Zimbabwe’ s Supreme Court
on Thursday nullified the election of the speaker
of parliament , who came from opposition ranks ,
about two years after President Robert
Mugabe’ s party lost the post for the first time .
The country ‘ s highest constitutional court ruled
that the election of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai’ s ally , Lovemore Moyo , did not follow
proper procedures after a challenge by a senior
member of Mugabe ‘s ZANU-PF party, lawyers
said .
The ruling is likely to escalate tensions in the
fragile unity government at a time Mugabe’ s
ZANU-PF is pushing for elections this year . This
also means Tsvangirai ‘s MDC will have to fight
for the position again .

Thu Mar 10 , 2011 11 : 33 am GMT
ad.reuters.com

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 )

The US Ambassador to Zimbabwe , Charles Ray ,
has rubbished claims Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai got political advice and instructions
from the US Embassy in Harare .
Ray , who was touring the Bulawayo Public
Library ’ s American Corner , told NewsDay he no
longer paid attention to the accusations, mainly
coming from the state media .
“ I do not pay attention to political rhetoric . I do
not try to give Tsvangirai instructions.
“ Knowing him ( Tsvangirai) I don’ t think he will
take what I would say, ” he said .
A UK-based writer , Blessings-Miles Tendi , last
week claimed former South African president
Thabo Mbeki told him in an interview Tsvangirai
consulted the former US Ambassador , James
McGee , during inter-party negotiations about
Zimbabwe’ s future in 2008 .
According to Tendi , Tsvangirai ’ s conversations
with McGee were reportedly recorded by
Zimbabwean intelligence and passed on to their
South African counterparts .
“(President Robert ) Mugabe ’ s narrative all along
has been that the MDC is a stooge of the West .
What is that then ? And people are surprised
when Sadc leaders don’ t take the side of MDC.
“ It is things like these that cause mediocrity. It ’ s
really pathetic that a leader would call the US
Embassy and ask for advice, ” Mbeki is alleged to
have said in the interview , which was later
leaked to WikiLeaks.
The MDC- T shot back saying Mbeki had revealed
his soft spot for Zanu PF and claimed he was
responsible for the split of the opposition
movement in 2005 .
Ray said it was not American policy to dictate to
any leader how to run their country but it was
the duty of the American ambassador to help
individuals who wanted to help the country
recover.
“ We have to distinguish between rhetoric and
reality. The reality is that you have a lot of
people in Zimbabwe who want to help the
country do better and we have to work with
those people.
“ It has nothing to do with which party they are
in ,” he said .

KHANYILE MLOTSHWA | BULAWAYO – Mar 07
2011 18 : 10
http://www.newsday.co.zw

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai Monday said
President Robert Mugabe had agreed to have a
police “ ban ” on MDC-T rallies lifted .
Observers said it was not clear whether the ban
was a calculated move by the police to maintain
law and order in the wake of political violence
or acts by overzealous and partisan officers
singing for their supper .
Monday Tsvangirai reportedly met the 87 -year –
old former guerilla leader to discuss the ban on
public gatherings, especially those of the MDC-T
and other organisations perceived to be anti –
Zanu PF .
“ The Prime Minister and the President met
today and agreed that all meetings should be
allowed to proceed ,” said Luke Tamborinyoka ,
the Prime Minister ’ s spokesperson .
“ The two agreed that there is no instruction to
stop any meetings as insinuated by overzealous
police officers who enforced a non- existent
instruction to stop the people of Zimbabwe from
exercising their constitutional right of assembly. ”
Tamborinyoka said there was a general
agreement that the government was under no
threat to justify prohibition of public meetings .
“ Moreover, Cabinet met last week and agreed
that there was no threat to the inclusive
government to warrant a ban on public
meetings , ” Tamborinyoka said.
“ According to the GPA , executive authority in
the country is shared between the President , the
Prime Minister and Cabinet . That all of them
have not sanctioned any ban on public
meetings can only mean that whoever is
tampering with the people’ s freedom of
assembly is either being deliberately
mischievous or has a parallel government
agenda. ”
He added : “ The President and the Prime
Minister agreed that there is no state of
emergency in the country ; that the people’ s
rights must be respected ; and that there is no
instruction from anyone to stop public
meetings . ”
George Charamba, President Mugabe ’ s
spokesperson , yesterday said he was not yet
aware of any such meeting between the
President and the Prime Minister .
“ I don’ t have that information as yet , but when I
left at around 1 pm I had not heard about the
meeting , I am not sure if he ( the President ) met
the PM. Let me find out and get back to you,”
Charamba said .
But by the time of going to print , Charamba had
not honoured his word .
Repeated efforts to contact him proved fruitless
thereafter.
Weekend reports said the police had banned
public meetings throughout the country .
The ban had been put in place ahead of the
MDC-T congress in May and possible elections
being agitated for by Zanu PF much to the
chagrin of GPA facilitator South African
President Jacob Zuma .
The ban mainly affected the MDC-T because
Zanu PF gatherings and demonstrations are
usually blessed by the police .
The MDC- T is holding restructuring meetings
ahead of its elective congress, but the ban had
adversely affected the exercise .
On Saturday , the police allegedly barred the
MDC-T from holding meetings in Mashonaland
East , West and Bulawayo provinces with
weekend reports suggesting the police and army
were on high alert amid reports of possible
disturbances in the country .
Former MDC-T MP Munyaradzi Gwisai is
languishing in remand prison charged with
treason for allegedly trying to incite an Egypt –
type revolution in Zimbabwe.
He reportedly invited political activists to watch
a video of the North African protests which
brought down Egypt ’ s strongman Hosni
Mubarak .
In a similar but unrelated incident , three top
members of a Bulawayo- based party, Mthwakazi
Liberation Front , also face treason charges after
they allegedly distributed fliers inciting people to
disobey President Mugabe’ s rule.
If convicted they face the death penalty . Last
week, planned demonstrations against political
violence failed to take off after a heavy
deployment of police and soldiers .
However , Zanu PF was allowed to hold its rally
at the Glamis Arena last Wednesday where
President Mugabe launched his anti -sanctions
campaign .

KELVIN JAKACHIRA /FELUNA NLEYA | HARARE
– Mar 07 2011 20 : 02
http://www.newsday.to.zw

Bulawayo police have banned street protests,
rallies and meetings by political parties and civic
groups citing a hostile environment , a measure
observers described as “ symptomatic of regimes
without the people’ s mandate ” .
Police were denying political parties, other than
Zanu PF , and civic groups permission to hold
rallies on the back of suspicion the gatherings
could plot North Africa-style anti -government
uprisings .
The ban was prompted by fear the meetings
could be hijacked and used as a launchpad for
anti -President Robert Mugabe protests .
This comes at a time International Socialist
Organisation general coordinator Munyaradzi
Gwisai and 45 others are in remand prison for
allegedly planning an Egypt -style uprising
against President Mugabe ’ s rule.
Over the past few weeks, Bulawayo police have
denied the two MDCs and political pressure
groups permission to hold rallies, protests and
political meetings .
MDC-T Bulawayo provincial spokesperson Felix
Magalela Sibanda said the move had adversely
affected the party’ s preparations ahead of its
elective congress set for May .
“ The police are saying our meetings are
cancelled indefinitely . . . there is just no
justification for the cancellation of our
meetings , ” said Sibanda .
Last week , MDC- T MP for Bulawayo Central
Dorcas Sibanda was briefly detained for
allegedly organising a meeting perceived to
support anti -President Mugabe protests .
She was arrested during a fund- raising event for
Mpilo Central Hospital .
On Monday last week, police arrested over 22
Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise ( Woza /
Moza) activists for holding a burial society
meeting in Entumbane and charged them with
planning anti -government protests .
Last Wednesday , police denied the Bulawayo
Progressive Residents ’ Association ( BPRA )
permission to hold street protests against poor
service delivery, saying “ they were given a
directive not to clear any meetings or
demonstrations ” .
BPRA said the “ move by the police is an affront
to freedom of expression and the right of
Zimbabweans to assembly” , adding the
association was considering taking legal action
against police .
Tsepiso Mpofu , the coordinator for the Youth
Initiative for Democracy in Zimbabwe, which is
spearheading a programme to assist youths
with voter registration, last week said her
association had also been denied permission to
hold meetings in high -density suburbs .
Edwin Ndlovu, the spokesperson for the
Welshman Ncube – led MDC, said their party
meetings had also been stopped on flimsy
grounds .
“ Police were clear and told us that they cannot
allow us to go ahead with our meetings because
we will use them to launch anti -government
protests, ” Ndlovu said .
Analysts , however , condemned the move by the
police as unconstitutional .
Rodrick Fayayo , a Bulawayo-based
commentator , said : “ It’ s symptomatic of
regimes without the people’ s mandate . They are
scared of the demonstrations they see in North
Africa, that is why they are closing space . ”
Acting Bulawayo police provincial spokesperson
Inspector Precious Simango could neither
confirm nor deny that police had officially
suspended political meetings , rallies and
protests.
“ There are reasons why those meetings , rallies
and protests were not sanctioned by the
regulating authorities,” Simango said , but
refused to state the reasons.

NQOBANI NDLOVU | BULAWAYO – Mar 06
2011 18 : 48
http://www.newsday.co.zw

Zanu PF has been dispatching its anti – sanctions
campaign messages via the information
superhighway through mobile phones, as the
former ruling party steps up its campaign ahead
of general elections expected later this year .
Ironically , the former ruling party protested
after MDC-T courted mobile phone service
provider Econet Wireless to broadcast its
campaign messages, and threatened to cancel
its operating licence in the heat of the
presidential election run -off campaign in June
2008.
One of the messages sent to NetOne subscribers
read : “ The time has come for every
Zimbabwean to sign the petition or dial 0044
7893227001 for the removal of illegal sanctions
imposed by the European Union and the United
States of America. ”
However , observers view the latest move as an
infringement on people’ s privacy as the party
did not seek NetOne subscribers ’ consent before
dispatching its campaign messages.
NetOne is a quasi – parastatal formed after the
unbundling of Posts and Telecommunications
Corporation ( PTC) in the late 1990 s.
It is hard to see how SMS could easily be
brought within the regulatory ambit without
resorting to heavy-handed censorship . Also ,
SMSs , like email , can easily be “ spoofed” .
This means that messages can be sent from
masked or fake addresses ( as with email
“ spam ”), making the regulator ’ s task even more
difficult.
Although the use of cellphones in political
campaigning or broadcasting in Zimbabwe is
not yet well developed , the potential is obvious.
MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa , who is
also Information and Communication
Technology minister , said Zanu PF was violating
people’ s rights by sending them unsolicitated
messages.
He said it was ironic that Zanu PF cried foul
when his party sent messages to people who
had voluntarily
subscribed to get information .
All telecommunications companies are licensed
by the Postal and Telecommunications
Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe ( Potraz) , a
creation of an Act of Parliament .
Potraz director- general Charles Sibanda
yesterday said his organisation had no mandate
to meddle in party politics but would act
whenever they received reports of network
abuse .
“ If there is an abuse of network , where for
example , people get threatening messages or
unsolicitated messages, we act . But our
mandate has nothing to do with politics . ”
Nathaniel Manheru , believed to be Presidential
spokesperson George Charamba, said in 2008 in
his weekly column:
“ The next polls will be fought on the waves,
which is why Econet, and its card- carrying
owner, Strive Masiyiwa , are so critical to the
MDC-T .
“ We wait for a new propaganda service , which
MDC-T seeks to unveil on June 14 , using
Masiyiwa ’ s network , through a toll -free facility .
Thank God cellular licences are up for renewal
and government has to deal with all manner of
mischief . ”
Said Chamisa on : “ Surely what is good for the
goose should be good for the gander . But what
Zanu PF is doing borders on offensive behaviour
because there has to be subscriber consent or
recipient agreement , which is basically what we
were doing. ”
Chamisa said the norm in the civilised world was
that “ you do not send messages to people
without their consent ” .
Zanu PF , which held its conference in December
last year , has stepped up its campaign ahead of
the next elections expected later this year .
The party ’ s main trump cards are the sanctions
imposed against its senior officials by the West
and indigenisation and economic
empowerment.
Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo could not
be reached for comment. In December last
year , Gumbo , however , said he was not aware
of who was behind the pro -Zanu PF mobile
phone messages, although he said “ they are
good messages” .
Cellular telephones are potentially an important
medium for electoral communication , for two
reasons: ownership and access to cellular
phones far outstrips access to landlines .
This disparity is especially apparent in
Zimbabwe, but it is a general phenomenon .
Cellphones have potential as a “ broadcasting ”
medium that is not comparable to traditional
landlines .
Whereas the landline could be used for voice
calls and transmitting documents, the cellphone
could send and receive text messages, audio
and video files .
So far this has focused on the use of text or
short messages ( SMSs ) . There are two well –
documented examples from the Philippines.
In 2001 President Joseph Estrada was forced to
resign after a popular campaign against him
orchestrated by SMS .
Then , in the 2004 presidential elections , SMS
was a very popular campaigning tool for the
main candidates .

OWEN GAGARE | HARARE – Mar 06 2011
18 : 56
http://www.newsday.co.zw

CABINET ministers in the shaky inclusive
government clashed in furious scenes on
Tuesday in front of President Robert Mugabe
and Prime Ministers Morgan Tsvangirai over a
series of contentious political issues prompting
the holding soon of a special cabinet meeting to
resolve the matters.
Informed official sources said GPA principals ,
including Mugabe , Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara , watched in horror
as ministers slugged it out over unimplemented
GPA issues as political tensions ran high and
partisan hostilities exploded at Munhumutapa
Building .
The cabinet session had been called to clear
Global Political Agreement ( GPA) issues and the
future of the GNU . It however ended amid
chaotic and acrimonious clashes as ministers
engaged in heated no -holds -barred exchanges
over disputed political issues .
This had necessitated a special cabinet sitting
that would be decisive in many ways for the
political direction and future of the country ,
according to a senior government minister .
“ We are going to have a special cabinet meeting
soon. The agenda of the meeting would in brief
be the GPA, GNU and the way forward ,” the
minister said . “ We are going to examine in
detail the 24 GPA issues which have been
agreed upon but not implemented. We are also
going to examine operations of the GNU . In
fact , this meeting will be a review of the
inclusive government. ”
The extraordinary cabinet meeting would
determine the fate of the government of
national unity ( GNU ) and the way forward
following recent problems around the lifespans
of the coalition arrangement , constitution –
making process , referendum and elections .
Some of the contentious issues were on
sanctions , the media , external radio stations,
hate speech , rule of law, state organs and
institutions , review of ministerial mandates , land
audit and tenure system and electoral
vacancies .
The gathering would also have a bearing on the
country ’ s future economic prospects,
particularly in view of Mugabe ’ s renewed threats
to grab foreign -owned companies under the
guise of indigenisation and empowerment.
Cabinet has now become a theatre of political
battles , mainly between Mugabe and Zanu PF
ministers and Tsvangirai and MDC-T ministers .
Mutambara now reportedly cuts a lonely figure
in cabinet after he was fired by his party and left
it under Minister of Trade and Industry
Welshman Ncube ’ s control . Mutambara and
Ncube are fighting over the MDC leadership and
the position of co -deputy prime minister . This
has intensified tensions within the divided
government .
“ As you would be aware ,” the minister said, “ the
negotiators of the three political parties in the
GPA finished their negotiations last year after
having been engaged since 2009 on a lot of
disputed issues. After that , the principals took a
long time to meet to resolve those issues which
negotiators agreed they could not deal with .
The principals resolved some of the issues but
later there was a dispute about that as well.
Principals met on many occasions since June last
year and the end result of that was a
commitment to implement the 24 items listed
on the implementation matrix document which
was approved by Sadc ( Southern African
Development Community) leaders in Windhoek
last year in August . ”
In early August last year the three parties in the
GPA endorsed and formalised the
implementation matrix which was approved and
presented as part of the report to Sadc
mediator , South African President Jacob Zuma .
After that Zuma took the report to the Sadc
summit in Windhoek. The report was approved
by regional leaders who gave Zimbabwean
parties timeframes and deadlines on
implementation of agreed issues .
The implementation matrix envisaged some
issues being tackled immediately; others within
a month or two months ; and a few
continuously or on a periodic basis .
The issues also included cabinet and council of
ministers ’ rules, guidelines and procedures ,
transport arrangements of principals , security
aides for the prime minister and deputy prime
ministers , parallel government , external
interference , national economic council,
constitutional commissions , national heroes, role
and position of permanent secretary of media ,
information and publicity , constitutional
amendment No 19 , interference with the rights
of freedom of association , assembly and
speech , role and funding of NGOs, multi -donor
trust fund and selective funding of ministries by
donors and electoral reforms .
Zimbabwe’ s cabinet approved the
implementation matrix but nothing much was
done afterwards .
Another government minister said the next
extraordinary cabinet meeting would “ seek to
revisit all these issues and enforce our own
decisions and Sadc resolutions” .
“ We must implement the GPA and that is what
the meeting will be about,” the minister said.
“ We signed the GPA and now Zimbabweans and
Sadc expect us to implement it in full . The GPA
is the basis of this government and the roadmap
to free and fair elections , so we can ’ t deviate
from it unless we want to let the country slide
back into a dark period of repression and
economic chaos. ”
Zuma ’ s facilitators have been in and out of the
country to ensure the parties implement the
GPA and define the roadmap to elections.
Although the parties have been cooperating,
Mugabe and his party have been trying to
stampede the country into early elections at
least by August . They have been doing this
through efforts to rush the constitution -making
process and referendum to pave for elections or
threats to abandon the GPA trajectory and go
back to the old constitution where Mugabe has
powers to unilaterally dissolve parliament and
call for elections . Under the GPA Mugabe does
not have these powers .

Thursday , 03 March 2011 20 : 18
Dumisani Muleya
http://www.theindependent.co.zw