Archive for the ‘Mugabe’ 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

Zimbabwean authorities received a warning on
Monday from the United States , over the
country ‘s growing cooperation with Iran ‘s
controversial nuclear programme .
P. J . Crowley , a spokesperson for the US State
Department , issued a strong statement warning
Zimbabwe that cooperating with Iran on its
nuclear programme would violate existing UN
resolutions. He said Zimbabwe could face
international penalties if it helped with Iran ‘s
nuclear development .
The State Department warning came after
Zimbabwe’s foreign minister , Simbarashe
Mumbengegwi, made statements suggesting
that UN sanctions on Iran are unfair and
hypocritical .
” The foreign minister of Zimbabwe is entitled to
his opinion but the government of Zimbabwe is
still bound by its commitments to the nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty and relevant U . N .
Security Council resolutions ,” Crowley told
He said helping Iran to extract uranium would
violate U . N . Security Council resolutions and
” There are ramifications for countries that
decline to observe their international
obligations . “
Officials from Iran and Zimbabwe have been
holding talks to find a way to utilize large
reserves of uranium that were discovered in
Zimbabwe. It is known that Iran ‘ s foreign
minister visited Zimbabwe ” secretly ” in January
to assess the situation . After the visit, Robert
Mugabe denied reports that Iran had secured
uranium rights, but made statements suggesting
Iran had the right to ask for it .
Iran needs the uranium ore for its ambitious
and secretive nuclear development and
Zimbabwe does not have the expensive
equipment needed to process it. The US and its
UN allies believe Iran secretly wants to develop
nuclear weapons . Iran ‘s refusal to cooperate
with the UN Atomic watchdog has led to military
sanctions .
Noting that both Zimbabwe and Iran have been
criticized for harsh human rights abuses ,
Crowley joked: ” It would be quite a match for
Zimbabwe and Iran to cooperate ” on uranium

By Tererai Karimakwenda
9 March 2011
Sw radio Aftica

Charges against three Mthwakazi Liberation
Front ( MLF ) leaders , who were arrested last
week for alleged subversion of a constitutional
government, were Monday altered to treason
which attracts the death penalty.
John Gazi , Paul Siwela and Charles Thomas will
appear in court today for trial.
They had initialy been brought to court
yesterday , but because of the new circumstance
did not appear before any magistrate and were
instead kept in the courts ’ holding cells .
The activists are being represented by a defence
team led by Advocate Lucas Nkomo and
includes Sindiso Mazibisa , Robert Ndlovu and
Matshobana Ncube .
Mazibisa said police had initially charged his
clients under Section 20 of the Criminal Law
( Codification and Reform ) Act ( subversion of a
constitutional government ) , but the charge was
altered in the holding cells without warned-and –
cautioned statements recorded.
“ They are now saying the trio distributed flyers
and calendars urging people to do the Egypt ,
Tunisia and Ethiopia and I don’ t know where
Ethiopia is coming from ,” said Mazibisa .
“ They are also saying on March 1, they held an
executive meeting in Bulawayo where they
mooted to overthrow the government. ”
The lawyer said what was strange was that the
police only decided to change the charges at
3pm yesterday yet his clients were arrested last
“ The charges were changed in the court holding
cells and no warned-and -cautioned statements
were recorded from them . They had to go back
to the police station and recharge them . We
could not go into court without seeing the
papers because we are challenging remand ,”
said Mazibisa .
Contacted for comment, the Criminal
Investigation Department coordinator for
Matabeleland region , Assistant Commissioner
Erasmus Makodza , confirmed the development .
“ They will appear in court Tuesday . They are
being charged with treason, ” he said .
MLF is pushing for a separate Matabeleland
The group formally wrote to President Robert
Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
demanding the creation of a separate state
citing “ continued marginalisation ” of the
Matabeleland region .

2011 20 : 09

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
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 .

– Mar 07 2011 20 : 02

After hours of waiting in the baking sun and
then rain thousands watched as generals ,
church leaders and other top figures queued up
to sign the document .
The rest of us must wait our turn, which will
come in the form of a door -to -door campaign
in which Zanu -PF militants will arrive at our
homes and ask us to sign a petition to the
European Union and the United States to end
sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and
his circle .
” Conscious of illegal and unilateral sanctions
imposed by the West on my country Zimbabwe,
I therefore do hereby append my signature to
register my protest at the said illegal sanctions
and to demand an immediate end to this form
of aggression against my country and my
people,” reads the petition . Below this , we must
write down our names , give our ID numbers ,
state where we live , and sign .
The Movement for Democratic Change calls it a
” Zanu -PF violence petition ” , but Zanu -PF insists
it is the document that will put an end to all our
troubles . At the ” anti -sanctions ” rally on
Wednesday , Mugabe’ s strategy to get the world
to take notice of his new crusade was carried by
the young men who stood behind us . ” Hit list :
Old Mutual , Rio Tinto , Standard Chartered ,
Barclays and many more,” a poster screamed.
By threatening foreign businesses, he hopes to
make the world more amenable .
Mugabe once said the measures against his
ruling elite were a pinprick that would not worry
him. But a frenzied propaganda campaign in
recent weeks has tried to convince
Zimbabweans that all the country ‘s economic
woes are the result of sanctions .
Among the Zanu- PF rank and file, it is taken as
gospel . At the weekend , at a district Zanu -PF
meeting in Mbare to organise Wednesday ‘ s rally ,
the district chairperson , Onesimo Gore, blamed
potholes on sanctions . A youth leader rose to
say if it wasn’ t for sanctions , he would have a
job .
Campaign of intimidation
Few believe this . But even fewer will refuse to
sign the petition when the youths come
knocking . There is little doubt this is the start of
a new campaign of intimidation .
Zanu -PF sees it as some sort of pledge of
allegiance to Mugabe . He has ordered that two
million people must sign the petition , which will
be handed to Western governments as proof
that Zimbabweans are on his side . The road to
the two million signatures began on Wednesday ,
as crowds gathered at dawn at an open ground
on the outskirts of Harare .
Many were supporters, but many others had
been forced to attend , with their markets shut
down by militants and some of them force-
marched to the venue . On one side a group
that has recently been at the sharp end of Zanu-
PF attacks jostled for space , hoping to make
sure the powerful people on the podium saw
their huge banner: ” Nigerian community says
‘NO ‘ to sanctions !”
Mugabe warned again that he would target
foreign businesses if the West did not lift the
punitive economic measures. He mentioned
foreign banks and mines , which he claims are
conspiring to steal mineral earnings. The West
depends on Zimbabwe in many ways, he said ,
and ” we are ready to hit back” . ” We have been
sending our beef to them and they say it ‘s the
tastiest beef they ‘ve ever had , ” he told the rally .
” Our tea goes into the blend they call Lipton and
they call it English tea . “
Zanu -PF ‘ s campaign has entailed hour -long TV
news bulletins dedicated to convincing
Zimbabweans that the economic crisis of the
past decade is the result of sanctions , not Zanu –
PF misrule . The West is blamed for everything,
from the poor drug supply in hospitals to the
run-down stadiums . Zanu -PF says America’ s
Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery
Act, enacted in 2001, has destroyed the
But the US embassy in Harare pointed out this
week that the US had provided more than $ 1 ,4 –
billion in aid to Zimbabwe since 2001 . In the
five years after the US applied targeted
sanctions in 2003 trade between Zimbabwe and
the US doubled and Zimbabwe currently runs a
trade surplus . The EU and US measures include
travel bans and asset freezes on more than 100
Zanu -PF figures and an arms embargo .
However , no asset freezes have been
confirmed . Some argue the list of targeted
companies includes corporations and banks in
which government has only minority shares and
other state-owned enterprises that provide basic
services .
Recently , one of the country ‘ s largest internet
service providers , ZOL , said the sanctions were
more general than Mugabe’ s critics let on . ” Any
business will tell you that sanctions are hurting
all businesses in Zimbabwe and therefore all
citizens. They [ the sanctions ] raise the cost of
supplies since some companies simply refuse to
deal with us, whether or not we are on the
[ sanctions ] list ,” ZOL said .
” PayPal, an online payment [ service ] provider , is
a perfect example . It has banned anyone in
Zimbabwe from using its system on that basis ,”
said ZOL .

JASON MOYO Mar 04 2011 15 : 17

Harare , Zimbabwe (CNN) — A court in
Zimbabwe ruled Monday that six of 45 political
and civil society activists arrested last month on
charges of plotting to topple President Robert
Mugabe in a Tunisian-Egyptian style uprising
face a trial on treason charges and could be
executed if convicted .
” Merely listening to treasonous utterances is not
criminal ,” said Harare Magistrate Munamato
Mutevedzi as he freed 39 of the 45 activists who
have been detained since February 19 .
He said the six others must face trial because
they had organized and spoken at the meeting .
Mutevedzi ordered the six social and human
rights activists held , including former Movement
for Democratic Change Member of Parliament
Munyaradzi Gwisai .
They now await a trial date at the High Court on
treason charges, which carry the death sentence
in Zimbabwe.
” You can apply for bail at the High Court since
the offense you are facing is a scheduled
offense which cannot be entertained by a
magistrate court ,” said Mutevedzi, referring to
the six.
Immediately after the ruling , the activists ‘
attorney Charles Kwaramba told the court that
his clients were being detained in solitary
confinement while the women were being
forced to work at the prison .
” We seriously object to this . They are still
innocent and there is no need to punish them , “
said Kwaramba . ” Their right of liberty is being
seriously infringed . That amounts to slavery . It
must not be allowed in a democratic society . “
Last week , the United States expressed concern
about their arrests and allegations by their
lawyer that some of them were tortured.
The activists 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 .
At least 12 of the activists were beaten with
broomsticks on their buttocks and the soles of
their feet, according to their attorneys .
Robert Mugabe, 87 , has ruled Zimbabwe since
1980 . Like Mubarak and Ben Ali, he has been
accused of rigging elections and instituting
repressive laws to tighten his grip on power .
Political observers have suggested the arrests
may be an indication that authorities are
worried that the changes sweeping across north
Africa may inspire Zimbabweans to rise up .

From Columbus S . Mavhunga , CNN
March 7 , 2011 — Updated 1429 GMT ( 2229

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
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
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
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
“ 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
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

Harare , Zimbabwe (CNN) — Washington has
ruled out lifting sanctions on Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle
until the regime shows a greater respect for
human rights, said a U . S . official visiting the
southern African nation Friday .
Susan Page, the deputy assistant secretary for
African affairs , said the United States was
concerned by the recent rise in ” political
violence , wanton intimidation of the public , and
partisan arrests and prosecutions . “
She applauded Mugabe ‘s statement last week
calling for an end to the violence but questioned
whether that message was filtering down to his
security forces.
” We hope President Mugabe, as head of state
and commander in chief of the armed forces,
also conveys that message to the police and
security services, ” Page said. ” The credibility of
that statement , however , ultimately will be
reflected in if or how it is honoured . “
Page said if Mugabe’ s party wants to play a
constructive role, ” it must reject the use of
violence and fear in its operations. “
Mugabe ‘s critics accuse the longtime ruler of
using violent means to hush his political
opponents, who are part of a unity government
that Mugabe wants ended .
In recent days , police in Zimbabwe have
arrested dozens of political activists, students
and trade union members for allegedly plotting
an Egyptian-style uprising . Defense attorneys
have reported torture of the detainees .
U . S . State Department Spokesman P . J . Crowley
said the activists were charged with treason and
urged Mugabe’ s government to uphold
international human rights laws and ensure due
process for those arrested.
The United States and the European Union
imposed targeted sanctions on Mugabe in 2002.
Mugabe blames those sanctions for his
country ‘ s woes — which late last year included a
90 % unemployment and an inflation rate of
231, 000,000% – – and threatened to seize all
Western -owned investments in the country
unless sanctions were lifted .
Mugabe has held power since Zimbabwe
became independent in 1980 . In 2009 , he
formed a coalition government with challenger
Morgan Tsvangirai, who was named prime
minister .
But last December , Mugabe announced he was
tired of working with the opposition party ,
which he said ” lacked ideology and policies ” and
called for an election this year .
Tsvangirai , however , 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 1855 GMT ( 0255

If there is something that has been nagging at
Zimbabwe’ s politics for the past decade , it is the
issue of sanctions , and yesterday , ZANU PF
whose business has been declared to be the
protection of the country ’ s sovereignty and
independence , unleashed its campaign
machinery tow -ards mobilising against the
sanctions . It is an issue that has dogged the
inclusive government since its inception in
February 2009 . The MDC party formation led by
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has insisted
the sanctions are mere “ restrictions ” , but Dep-
uty Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara , the
former leader of another MDC formation, has
loudly condemned the sanctions , which the
West argue are targeted against President
Robert Mugabe and members of his inner circle .
“ There is no economic sanctions regime in this
country , there are restrictive measures,” Prime
Minister Tsvangirai told a public accountability
seminar orga – nised by the Media Institute of
Southern Africa ( MISA ) and the Centre for
Public Accountability ( CPA ) last year , adding:
“ We have agreed as principals to tackle the issue
of restrictive measures as this isolation has
affected the lines of credit . ”
But President Mugabe and his ZANU PF party
insist that the sanctions are not targeted but
were rather put in place to accelerate Zimba –
bwe ’ s economic collapse in order to undermine
his government under what ZANU-PF describes
as “ the regime change agenda” .
ZANU-PF began mobilising support for two
million signatures to accompany a petition
against the sanctions by the EU and the US
government yesterday at an event where
President Mugabe was the chief guest. Prime
Minister Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister
Mutambara had been invited to the occasion,
but reports indicate that they snubbed the
event .
In a campaign advertisement, ZANU-PF
highlighted that Article 1 V of the global political
agreement ( GPA ) , the instrument that facilitated
the creation of the inclusive government, had
bound all three political parties in the inclusive
government to fight “ illegal sanctions impo- sed
on the Zimbabwean people by the United
Kingdom , the Europ- ean Union , United States of
Ame- rica and international financial institutions
like the IMF and the World Bank ” .
“ This article of the GPA attests to the direct
connection between these illegal sanctions and
the decline in the Zimbabwean economy; the
non-availability of lines of credit to Zimbabwe;
the negative international perception of
Zimbabwe; and the fall in the standards of living
of the Zimbabwean people, ” read the ZANU-PF
campaign banner .
“ Sanctions do kill! Sign against them , act against
them !” charged ZANU- PF .
Recently , business has come out in support of
measures to withdraw the sanctions , arguing
these had become an unbearable cost to
business and the economy .
It is indeed true that sanctions have been a
factor in Zimbabwe’ s economic de- cline that
ended with formation of the inclusive
government in 2009 , but they were certainly not
the major reason for the sharp decline. With the
economic crisis emerged a sharp decline in
living standards .
For many years , and as most economists and
economic journalists will confirm , the critical
economic story was government’ s budget
deficits which were largely accrued to finance
recurrent expenditure .
There was very little for capital projects , key to
the development of an economy and job
creation .
An economic adjustment programme backed by
the IMF in the early 1990 s had only worsened
the situation . Its intentions had been noble:
There was need for belt tightening as well as
austere measures by government to grow the
economy . But government panicked at the first
signs of upheaval; austere measures meant the
erosion of so -called social safety nets , and free
health care for the poor . As a result, these
reforms were abandoned , and government
argued they had been inappropriate for the
domestic economy.
But the decline in the economy became gradual;
rising commodity prices stoked spontaneous
protects in Harare ’ s urban areas after bread
prices went up in 1998.
Similar protests were to ensue in consequent
years , triggered largely by declining standards of
living and rising unemployment .
These were precisely the issues that triggered
the em -ergence of the opposition in Zimbabwe
in 1999, with the Zimbabwe Congress of Tr -ade
Unions ( ZCTU ) secretary -general , Morgan
Tsvangirai , now Prime Minister of the inclusive
government , emerging the favourite to le- ad
efforts to unseat the inc- umbent government of
Pre -sident Mugabe from power.
But , just th -en, the contentious issue of land
ownership emerged , and ZANU-PF , whose
leadership had always lured voters on the back
of promises to re -distribute land to landless bla –
cks , seized on that issue to win back support
and fend off the threat posed by the opposition .
Unsettled white farmers began bank- rolling the
M-DC formation led by Tsvan -girai , and the
international community — the USA , the EU ,
Australia, New Zealand and a few others outside
the EU block – jumped into the MDC’ s corner.
But that only served to make the MDC’ s struggle
for power a racial affair : President Mugabe
charged that the condemnation of his
government was an issue of “ kith and kin” — the
British , who led the campaign against ZANU-PF
and President Mugabe , were angry with his
government for taking away land from the
whites .
The US first targeted Zimbabwe in 2001 after
the controversial land reform programme that
saw thousands of white -owned farms invaded
and occupied.
The Zimbabwe Dem – ocracy and Economic
Recovery Act ( ZIDERA ) directed that the US
government should oppose the granting of any
loan or financial assistance to Zimbabwe.
President George Bush then expanded the
sanctions by declaring a national emergency to
deal with the Zimbabwean threat in 2003 .
Meanwhile , the opposition ’ s cup ran over, with
massive financial packages from the West –
President Mugabe had to be removed from
power , and the only viable option was the
emergence of Prime Minister Tsvangirai and his
MDC party which they bankrolled with reckless
abandon . Today , senior activists within the MDC
can be counted among US dollar multi –
millionaires through this money , yet village
activists maimed for the struggle against ZANU-
PF have been neglected, in fact shunned by a
party whose struggle has massively enriched a
So , while the economy had already been on a
downward trajectory , and required a miracle to
be salvaged from that course , it was also clearly
the intention of the West to ensure Zimbabwe
was isolated in order to undermine President
Mugabe ’ s government and buttress a surging
opposition through economic sanctions .
Although denying that there were economic
sanctions in place , Prime Minister Tsvangirai,
however , noted that “ the issue of restrictive
measures” was a form of economic “ isolation
( that ) has affected the lines of credit ” into the
country .
Which , put in other words , essentially means
sanctions on President Mugabe and his cabal of
associates were not necessarily smart or
targeted but general economic sanctions which
were meant to have a bearing on the economic
performance .
How does banning individuals of a detested
government from travelling to the EU or the US
achieve democratic reforms unless those
individuals ’ lives depended on visiting those
countries ? The truth is it is Zimbabwe ’ s economy
that depends to a significant extent on financial
interaction with the EU block and the US , rather
than President Mugabe and members of his
government . Besides, the squeeze on
companies targeted under the regime of
sanctions for allegedly propping President
Mugabe ’ s former government have hundreds of
employees dependent on them , and also
interact with many other economic players for
the growth of the Zimbabwean economy . The
management of Zimbabwe’ s economy had
indeed an effect on Zimbabwe ’ s credit
worthiness , but ZIDERA and other sanction
measures gave a cue to financial institutions on
how they had to deal with even private sector
players in the crisis- torn economy.
Yet even without ZIDERA, Zimbabwe had
become unqualified to access balance of
payments support from the IMF because of
protracted arrears.
A US embassy spokesperson in Zimbabwe
indicated in a recent response to an article by
The Financial Gazette that ZIDERA , signed into
law in 2001 , and provisions contained in
subsequent appropriations acts , restricted the
ability of the United States to cast its vote in
support of assistance to Zimbabwe in
international financial institutions ( IFI ’ s) , except
for programmes that meet basic human needs
or promote democracy .
But indeed Zimbabwe was already ineligible for
multilateral loans before ZIDERA due to its
arrears to the IFIs . But ZIDERA made it a law
that the US did not have to support financial
support that could result in a positive turn to
Zimbabwe’ s struggling economy under President
Mugabe ’ s regime .
To many watchers, ZIDERA and indeed other
forms of sanctions against President Mugabe
and his allies are not an obstacle to Zimbabwe’ s
economic recovery , as observed by the recovery
experienced over the past two years . Yet their
removal is indeed an integral part of the GPA,
and indeed full implementation of that political
agreement also includes removal of sanctions .
“ The United States advocates full
implementation of the Global Political
Agreement , an accord brokered by SADC and
signed by each of the three parties represented
in the transitional government , and the holding
of free and fair elections that will reflect the will
of the majority of Zimbabweans ,” the embassy
spokesperson had noted in the statement to this
newspaper .
The spirit of any democratic system is that
political power should be vested in the people,
and if the US , the EU and their allies are sincere
about building a democratic Zimbabwe free of
exogenous influences , they must remove the
sanctions to give the contending political players
equal chances on the ballot .
This is not to say violence , electoral fraud or
human rights abuses from any of the
contending forces should be condoned ; but , it is
certainly not the reason why the US , the EU and
their allies have kept sanctions against President
Mugabe and so-called members of his inner
circle .
The West has stuck to regimes whose leaders
won power through fraudulent elections . Until
the recent protests that triggered the flight of
Hosni Mubarak from power in Egypt , that Arab
country was the single largest recipient of
financial support from the US .
There West has done business with despotic
regimes across the globe , including China ,
whose prominent dissident , Liu Xiaobo, a jailed
Chinese rights activist , won the 2010 Nobel
Peace prize last year , as well as the Equatorial
Guinea or Gabon whose violation of human
rights is equally detestable . Muammar Gaddafi
was until the recent protests viewed as a
“ rehabilitated dictator” after he had agreed
access to Libya ’ s oil resources to the west.
So , even if the sanctions on Zimbabwe might be
a token of apprehension by the West over
Zimbabwe’ s human rights record, they risk being
deduced in racial terms because of the
inconsistent application of that measure by the
West .
This is why regional leaders , including South
Africa’ s President Jacob Zuma , have urged their
withdrawal and patently shown sympathy to
President Mugabe because of the perception
that he is a victim .
To allow for meaningful reforms , these
sanctions have to go and the political gladiators
have to then agree to meaningfully level the
political playing field .

Dumisani Ndlela , Deputy Editor – in- Chief
Friday , 04 March 2011 12 : 56

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