Friday, September 24, 2010

Tsvangirai: 'Zimbabwe's conflict will end with credible election'

Johannesburg, South Africa (CNN) -- Zimbabwe's long-standing political conflict will not be resolved unless a fair election takes place, says Morgan Tsvangirai, the country's prime minister.

Speaking to CNN's Robyn Curnow from Johannesburg, Tsvangirai said: "The country will not move forward unless you have a credible and a legitimate election, so we have to get that mandate."

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Zimbabwe back to the polls next year

Sep 19, 2010 12:00 AM | By ZOLI MANGENA

Zimbabwe's cabinet this week unanimously agreed that fresh elections would be held next year amid opposition from a wide cross-section of Zimbabweans.

This came as South African President Jacob Zuma met Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to discuss the issue of elections.

Insiders said Zuma and Tsvangirai discussed how to ensure free and fair elections to avoid a disputed outcome.

Zuma, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) mediator in Zimbabwe, and his colleagues in the region view elections as the only way out for Zimbabwe, which has been locked in a political stalemate for a decade.

Informed government insiders said the cabinet on Tuesday resolved that elections would be held next year after finance minister Tendai Biti presented his budget principles and guidelines to the cabinet.

"The issue of elections arose in the context of Biti making a presentation on the budget. He raised the issue and informed cabinet that the political principals had directed him to budget $200-million for elections, and cabinet had approved it," said a minister.

"So, as a result, it is now formal policy that elections will be coming next year. We will start with the referendum on the draft constitution, which will cost$100-million and then follow with national elections, which will also need $100-million."

The Sunday Times could not get comment from the government because Mugabe's cabinet has resolved to arrest ministers who leak confidential information.

Said a minister: "Cabinet approved the elections, but some of us don't want them. It's not necessary at the moment to subject the country and the people to a process which we all know will bring back political tensions and confrontation.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Breaking news from Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)

WOZA and MOZA commemorate International Peace Day with street protest in Harare
20 September 2010

AT noon today, 600 members of Women and Men of Zimbabwe marched to
Parliament in Harare to mark International Peace Day. It is believed
60 members are under arrest at Harare Central Police Station. 25
members were arrested and taken to Harare Central Police Station. 35
more handed themselves in in solidarity after marching from Parliament
to Harare Central. The total arrested is believed to be 60.

The aim of the peaceful protest was to highlight community safety
issues and police behavior in communities. When the peaceful group
arrived at Parliament, they handed over a list of demands for members
of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Police Commissioner and the
co-Ministers of Home Affairs to police officers stationed outside
Parliament. The full list of demands can also be found on our website.

Two members addressed the peaceful group outside Parliament explaining
that tomorrow (21st September) is International Peace Day and using
the example of the violence at COPAC consultations over the weekend to
illustrate how Zimbabweans have little experience of peace. They
called on the Zimbabwe Republic Police to allow Zimbabweans to be able
to give their views of what they want in a new Constitution without
violence and called on police to arrest those that threatened others
or used violence.

Bystanders were overheard supporting the protestors – commenting on
the violence shown by police officers in recent weeks and how police
officers should be ashamed of themselves for not being the ones to
keep the peace.

WOZA members have been worried about the performance and
professionalism of our police officers for some time. As a result,
WOZA has observed their behavior in select communities in Bulawayo and
Harare for four months.

WOZA members observed police officers beating suspects in public;
harassing vendors and taking their goods for their own use, without
any receipting; demanding and accepting bribes, both in public and at
police stations; drinking in uniform in public, sometimes stopping to
drink while escorting suspects who will be under arrest and making
people under arrest ‘run’ in front of their motor bikes and/or horses
to the police station. In Bulawayo, many police officers refuse to
respond to citizens’ complaints if they speak in the Ndebele language,
insisting they speak in Shona.

75% of people whose rights were violated during arrest reported
damages, injuries and or loss of property. These incidents are common
when one is arrested by the plain-clothed and municipal police.

A more detailed account of our findings can be found on our website at but the investigations done during the four
months is just a small part of what is happening and are a reflection
of a poor relationship between police and the community. It is clear
that police officers routinely violate human rights and do not follow
proper protocols of arrest and detention. In this regard, they are not
following the Zimbabwe Police Act, the ZRP Service Charter and ZRP
Service Standards as well as regional and international standards and

Please phone Harare Central Police Station on +263 4 777777 to demand
that the WOZA activists be released immediately.

20th September 2010

For more information, please call Jenni Williams on +263 912 898 110 /
+263 11 213 885, Magodonga Mahlangu on +263 912 362 or Annie Sibanda
on +27 79 188 1560. Email or visit You can also follow us on Twitter at or find us on Facebook.

Diamonds sharpen Zimbabwe power struggle

Zimbabwe’s generals are accumulating a secret slush fund from diamond sales, a campaign group claims. Diplomats fear the vast mines put the army in a powerful position to dictate the terms of succession after the death of Robert Mugabe.

The warning comes days after Zimbabwe’s pro-democracy prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, appealed to lower ranked army and police not to participate in any coup against the constitutional order when Mr Mugabe, 86, finally dies.

The military’s control over the vast Marange fields — the source of a quarter of the world’s diamonds — has become an important factor in the future of Zimbabwe.

Read More

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Zim to probe rights abuses

Tuesday 14 September 2010

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s unity government has agreed to probe human rights abuses committed after December 2008, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said on Monday, effectively ruling out investigating gross abuses committed since independence or before.

Chinamasa said the government would soon table in Parliament a Bill that will empower the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to probe human rights abuses committed after enactment of Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Number 19.

The amendment that paved the way for the creation of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s coalition government last year was enacted in December 2008

Chinamasa said: “This commission will not investigate the alleged violations which occurred before the enactment of the amendment number 19 unless the violations have continued after the enactment but anything that happened before they will not have power to investigate."

The Justice Minister said the commission will investigate “ everybody, every individual, corporates and institutions no one is going to be above scrutiny.”

Chinamasa said the commission will visit and inspect prisons, places of detention, refugee camps and related facilities “to ascertain the conditions under which inmates are kept there, and to make recommendations regarding those conditions to the minister responsible for administering the law.”

But it is the coalition Cabinet’s decision not to probe rights violations prior to December 2008 that will infuriate many Zimbabweans including many of Tsvangirai’s supporters in his MDC party and in civil society.

MDC members, including Tsvangirai himself, have borne the brunt of organised political violence from security forces and Mugabe’s supporters since 2000 with several hundreds killed while many more have been uprooted from their homes by war veterans and youth militia loyal to the veteran leader.

But the violence climaxed in the run-up to a presidential run-off election in June 2008 when Mugabe sought to reverse his first ever electoral defeat by Tsvangirai in the first round of the poll.

Known senior security officers led ZANU-PF loyalists on a campaign that left 200 opposition supporters dead and even shocked other neutral African leaders.

And while human rights groups and Western governments began focusing serious attention on rights abuses by Mugabe only in the last 10 years after he began seizing white-owned farms, the Zimbabwean leader is accused of trampling upon the rights of opponents with his Gukurahundi military campaign launched barely three years after taking over power at independence from Britain in 1980.

Gukurahundi was launched ostensibly to crackdown on armed dissidents in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces dominated by the Ndebeles who were the main backers of the then opposition PF-ZAPU party.

Analysts say the real purpose of the onslaught by the army’s North Korean-trained 5th Brigade was to demolish PF-ZAPU’s support base.

At least 20 000 innocent civilians were reportedly killed, some of them by having their stomachs prised open by soldiers while others were rounded up into huts and set on fire.

A government commission probed the atrocities but the results of the probe have never been made public.

Zimbabwe’s rights commission was sworn into office last year and is chaired by Reginald Austin, a law professor and former head of the legal affairs division of the Commonwealth.

The commission consists of the chairperson and eight other commissioners, but the constitution is silent on the position of the deputy.

The Bill seeks to provide for the position of deputy chairperson which shall be occupied by a person of the opposite sex to the chairperson, Chinamasa said.

The rights commission is part of several commissions formed by Zimbabwe’s power-sharing government as part of a raft of reforms meant to reshape and democratise the country’s politics.

The other commissions include the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. – ZimOnline.

Monday, September 6, 2010

'Stop using students as political tools,' says Zimbabwe student

By Munyaradzi Makoni
Windhoek, 26 August (ENI)--Young people should not be used as tools for political violence in Southern Africa, says Innocent Kasiyano, coordinator of the Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe.

"It is a sad trend that youths are used as tools of political violence, and agents to instil fear in communities. That must be stopped," Kasiyano told ENInews.

The SCM official was speaking during the Sixth People's Summit, organized by the Solidarity People's Network, and held from 15 to 16 August at the Catholic Cathedral Hall in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia.

In Zimbabwe, the youth wing of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, which is in a government of national unity with the Movement for Democratic Change, has faced accusations of having been used to foment fear among those who oppose Zanu-PF, which held power from independence in 1980 until February 2009.

"The participation of youths should not only be limited to lower government structures," said Kasiyano, noting that there is a need to sensitise other youths in the region about their social and economic rights. He said the involvement of young people in decisions of the 14-member Southern African Development Community would help develop new leaders. Kasiyano coordinates 36 SCM branches across Zimbabwe, with about 200 members in each branch.

Holding the Peoples Summit - a gathering of faith groups, civic organisations and trade union members - alongside the 30th SADC heads of States, also meeting in Windhoek, gave the students an opportunity to lobby on a number of issues, said Kasiyano.

"We want the leaders to allow youths bodies to monitor general elections in the region at least two to three months before the actual voting, to prevent violence," he said. He also suggested SADC countries should spend more on young people to fight poverty.

Kasiyano said young people must be part of the national healing process in Zimbabwe. This is also a recommendation of the Global Political Agreement that brought together Zanu-PF and two opposition parties after a period of serious political violence following elections that Mugabe's party lost.

"Young people were used in the violence; they must be fully involved in the national healing process," said Kasiyano, who is a Roman Catholic. He added that national healing is not enough, and called for a justice, truth and reconciliation commission, such as South Africa had after the end of apartheid.

"As part of civil society, we are not a government in waiting but we are there to fight for the voice of the marginalised to be heard," said Kasiyano.

SCM Zimbabwe groups students from 27 tertiary institutions and high schools, and focuses on conflict transformation, peace building initiatives, and leadership training. It has sometimes been strongly critical of what it views as excesses committed by Mugabe and his followers. [474 words]
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More corruption ahead for diamond industry

By Alex Bell
03 September 2010

Corruption in the already tainted diamond industry is set to deepen, as known ZANU PF aligned businesses are set to venture into diamond processing.

The Affirmative Action Group (AAG) has announced that it has ten members lined up to venture into diamond cutting and polishing, at a multi million dollar diamond plant under construction in Harare. The Zimbabwe Diamond and Technology Centre is set to be fully operational in the next six months, and will be the central hub for Zimbabwe’s diamonds to be cut and polished.

The Centre is being constructed by Canadile Mining, one of the government approved firms illegally mining in Chiadzwa. Once fully completed, the US$20 million centre will have, among other things, banks, a diamond processing college and even insurance firms.On the surface, the Centre has the chance to create massive employment opportunities and lead the way in indeginisation and economic empowerment. But critics are warning that the involvement of the AAG will merely see more corruption take root in the diamond sector.

Commentator Professor John Makumbe told SW Radio Africa on Friday that the public must be concerned that AAG members are being funneled into diamond processing, under the guise of empowerment and indiginisation. Makumbe warned that the AAG is “a well known group of mainly ZANU PF aligned business people,” who have been “looting the economy for several years.”

“It is likely that these groups are flooding into the (Diamond Technology) Centre to have unbridled access to diamonds,” Makumbe said. “The state is unlikely then to benefit significantly from these diamonds until proper legislation is put in place to stop this kind of corruption.”

Zimbabwe is pegged as becoming the number one diamond producer in the world, with a Belgian expert this week saying that the Chiadzwa alluvial fields could produce up to 40 million carats of diamonds a year.
International diamond consultant Fillipe van Laere said, on the sidelines of a ceremony to mark the establishment of the Diamond Technology Centre, that Zimbabwe will be “propelled to the number one spot as the world's most important diamond producer in the next two or three years.”

But there is growing scepticism that any profits from diamonds sales will benefit the state in any significant way, as currently no legislation exists on how diamond profits will be handled. Over the past year US$30 million dollars worth of diamonds were sold illegally, despite a ban on international trade over rampant human rights abuses in Chiadzwa.

Those profits were never seen by the Treasury. Finance Minister Tendai Biti has proposed a Diamond Law, to be debated in parliament, that will try and end corruption in the sector and ensure that diamond proceeds benefit the country. Biti has said that the diamond profits will rescue the shattered economy if they are steered into the State coffers. But there is no policy in place on how this will happen.
SW Radio Africa news